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Banking on Africa: the examples of Kaberuka and Sinon

Banking on Africa: the examples of Kaberuka and Sinon
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Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Banking on Africa: the examples of Kaberuka and Sinon

By Raynard Jackson

Special to USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and The Black Business Journal, Houston

The overwhelming images most Americans see on U.S. media about Africa is that of famine, war, or other tragedies.  But, with a little effort, another view of Africa begins to emerge.

Before the final weekend of September 2009, I had the honor of spending a few days with the Peter Sinon, Executive Director of the African Development Bank.  You can hear my interview with him on my radio show (www.ustalknetwork.com).

The goal of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is to create sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries (RMCs), thereby helping to reduce poverty.  This is achieved by mobilizing and allocating resources for investment in RMCs & providing policy advice and technical assistance to support development efforts.

The bank contributes to the financing of road construction, building of dams, or the financing of mining projects.  The bank also helps to fund the operational budget of a particular country.  The bank might also partner with the World Bank to promote trade and investment liberalization and the privatization of state-owned companies, thereby creating local jobs.

According to the bank’s website, “The major rating agencies Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and the Japanese Credit Rating Agency have assigned a triple-A rating on AfDB long term senior debt and double A-plus on its subordinated debt. The outlook on all the ratings are stable and reflect the Bank’s strong membership support, healthy capital adequacy, preferred creditor status and strong financial condition.”  How many stories about this have you seen on the U.S. news?  I understand that the AfDB is still  considered a small player on the continent in the area of finance (they provide about 6% of total development assistance on the continent, about U.S. $ 3 billion annually).  But, their goal is not to compete with the World Bank (one of the dominant players on the continent).

Interviewing Mr. Sinon made me more aware of the role and mission of the bank and optimistic about Africa’s future.  He is more than just another highly trained economist.  He clearly understands that economic theories must be practical and able to provide measurable change in the lives of people.

Mr. Sinon also sang the praises of the bank’s president, Mr. Donald Kaberuka, the former Finance Minister of Rwanda.  He was elected president in 2005 and is up for reelection next year (he is expected to win another 5 year term).  He has brought much needed vision and focus to the bank and under his leadership, the bank is playing a much larger role on the continent.

Under Mr. Kaberuka’s leadership, the bank expects its investments in 2009 to double with commitments amounting to around US $ 11 billion from US $ 5.8 billion last year.

Last Monday he rang the closing bell on Wall Street.  Afterword he gave the keynote address at the Africa Investor Index Series Summit and Awards at the exchange.  He also attended the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative; spoke at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, and participated in a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

I think Mr. Kaberuka and the bank should plan a program in the U.S. that would allow him to educate Americans about the bank and its role in the development of Africa.  This program should have a media component with majority & ethnic newspapers, TV programs, radio programs and include several speeches at universities and professional financial organizations such as the National Associating of Black Money Managers.

Mr. Kaberuka has a great story to tell.  Under his leadership, that bank is investing larger amounts on the continent, becoming more influential, becoming more focused, and being recognized as a well run organization. He can’t expect the images coming out of Africa to change on its own.  He must become more aggressive about championing the successes of his bank.  That will require him to become more media savvy.

With Keberuka and Sinon, I think their organization is something that the continent of African can bank on.

•Raynard Jackson, contributing writer for USAfricaonline.com,  is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting/government affairs firm. Published on USAfricaonline.com on October 1, 2009

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Femi Kuti brings the roof down at Chicago’s Ravinia music festival

Femi Kuti brings the roof down at Chicago’s Ravinia music festival
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USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com (characterized by The New York
Times as the  most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia
networks) established May 1992, our first edition of USAfrica magazine
was published August 1993; USAfrica The Newspaper on May 11, 1994;                                                                                 CLASSmagazine on May 2, 2003; www.PhotoWorks.TV in 2005
——

USAfricaMUSIC:

Femi Kuti brings the roof down at Ravinia music festival in Chicago

Femi Kuti performing in Chicago's Ravinia 2009. 2femiKutiRavinia09.usafricaonline.com.pamoj.chicago

Femi Kuti performing in Chicago's Ravinia 2009. 2femiKutiRavinia09.usafricaonline.com.pamoj.chicago

Special to USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine, Nigeria360@yahoogroups.com and The Black Business Journal, Houston. http://www.usafricaonline.com/femikuti.pamojek09.html

On getting to Ravinia, in Highland Park, Illinois on Wednesday July 1st, 2009 we walked around the grounds a bit before the concert started.  We saw Nigerians decked out in unique fashion and styles galore.  (Trust us Nigerians; we know how to do it!)

The crowd was mixed and some of the people we spoke to thought it was such a deal to come and listen to 2 great Nigerian musicians.  Femi Kuti and Sunny Ade were featured.

Ravinia is a place where concerts are held.  It has large expansive grounds and people picnic out there during concerts.  Several restaurants are scattered all over the grounds.  Alcohol kiosks were strategically placed near the band shell.  The band shell comes with seats and that is where all the action is.

Femi’s Positive Force opened up the concert.  The band was playing and his dancers came in looking very energetic as demonstrated in their steps.

They were decked out in yellow skimpy skirts with a bra top and lot of African beads.   The band was in an Ankara top with matching pants.  The whole presentation looked great as the colors in their outfits coordinated with each other.  The lighting on the stage with the graphic background drop gave the whole place the Afrikan Shrine look.  The dancers twisted and gyrated to the pulsating mesmerizing sounds.  A quick look around the front row seats showed all the men (and some women too) watching with rapt attention.

When Femi came out, the crowd erupted into cheers.  His first song was Stop Aids.  This song was written when his father Fela Anikulapo Kuti died.

Femi is emerging as one of Nigeria’s top crusaders on the fight against AIDS. After 3 songs, he stopped and addressed his crowd. He thanked everyone for coming out and taught his reoccurring verse of: Ara ra ra ra ra; and the response of: oro ro ro ro ro.  He engaged the audience with those chants and they responded with enthusiasm, further charging the already charged air.  Femi enlivened the audience by singing Bang Bang Bang — his most controversial song that was banned on the Nigerian airwaves.  Some people could not hold back any longer as dancing in their seats was not doing it for them.   The aisles quickly filled up with people, dancing and singing.  When he got to the part where he sings: jump, jump, jump, the crowd was already jumping.

Can’t Buy Me, a song that addresses the sugar daddy syndrome, was greeted by cheers….  When he sang his anti government song, Se Were, the crowd was really ready for the roof to come down as the dancing got more frenzied.  When he ended with Fela Ko Ji Ku, a song stating that Fela still lives, he took the roof with him as he exited.  The band continued playing and the dancers gyrated and twisted their way off stage.  The audience hung around clapping and cheering hoping Femi would make another appearance.  He was back stage getting ready to depart to his next destination.  What a show!

We made my way back stage and were ushered in with some of his other friends.  We had a chance to chat for a few minutes and he shared that though he was playing with Sunny that day, that they crossover in some places.  Sunny opened the show for then in Minnesota.  They have another appearance together in Montreal.  Femi and Positive Force have 7 more shows left on their Tour of Europe.  Their return to Nigeria will be in early August 2009.

On the closure of Afrika Shrine, Femi said “it was opened one week after it was closed.  We were given 48 hours to address some issues and after they were served papers, the government swooped in and closed Shrine down” before the time they were given to address those issues passed.  The issues had to do with street traders, parking and noise pollution.  Femi’s answer to all that was these: “It is left for them to clear the street traders and not a job for Afrika Shrine. On the issue of noise pollution, Fashola should close down all Churches and Mosques.  The security men placed there by Fashola should do their job and control traffic effectively”.  Femi further states that Governor “Fashola banned street parties oneweek before Felabration.”  Felabration was a celebration on Fela’s 70th birthday.  The event featured many Nigerian musicians who performed for little or nothing at New Afrika Shrine. Certainly, he is moving his father’s name and efforts into a new generation.
Pamela Mojekwu is Chicago-based contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine, Houston . She is one of the leading fitness experts in the world with almost 30 years media experience. Published July 28, 2009 on USAfricaonline.com

Linking to this report is appreciated. Archiving on any other web site or newspaper is unauthorized except with a Written Approval by USAfricaonline.com Founder.

Fela: The Life and Times of controversial Afrobeat superstarBy Chido Nwangwu, Publisher USAfricaonline.com. Special Report on August 4, 1997

http://ww.usafricaonline.com/chido.felakuti1997.html

APPRECIATION: A young father writes his One year old son: “If only my heart had a voice….”

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Nigeria’s troubled banking system and need for CBN reforms

Nigeria’s troubled banking system and need for CBN reforms
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Nigeria’s troubled banking system and need for CBN reforms

Lamido Sanusi_CentralBankGov-Nigeria-via_USAfricaonline.com

Special to USAfrica multimedia networks,  the USAfrica-powered e-groups of  Nigeria360IgboEventsUNNalumni,  and CLASSmagazine Houston.

Nigerian banking is being pulled from the crisis and profligacy of the past 5 years inflicted by bank executives and some failings on the part of the regulators. Hence, more pragmatic steps seem to be taking shape, led newly-appointed Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Sanusi Lamido, to arrest the ugly situation. Regardless, charges of regional (northern) favoritism, accusations of unfair and hasty leap have been placed at his doors by some southern Nigerian bankers and beneficiaries of the previous order of things. USAfrica’s researcher since 1994 and Principal Policy analyst for Afripol EMEKA CHIAKWELU explores this issues and its implications.

Follow USAfrica at Facebook.com/USAfrica247Facebook.com/USAfricaChido n Twitter.com/Chido247 

USAfrica, September 30, 2009: A little background to the latest events will show that the CBN announced in August 2009 the dismissal of managing directors of five banks in Nigeria – Intercontinental Bank PLC, Fin Bank, Union Bank, Oceanic Bank and Afribank. And on top of that many influential individuals and companies were fingered on not living up to agreements of the debts they own to those banks.

The reason given by Lamido’s CBN for letting them go is principally due to:

Excessively high level of non-performing loans in the five banks which was attributable to poor corporate governance practices, lax credit administration processes and the absence or non-adherence to the bank’s credit risk management practices. Thus the percentage of non-performing loans to total loans ranged from 19 per cent to 48 per cent. The five banks will therefore need to make additional provision of N539.09 billion. The huge provisioning requirements, have led to significant capital impairment. Consequently, all the banks are undercapitalized for their current levels of operations and are required to increase their provisions for loan losses, which impacted negatively on their capital. Indeed one is technically insolvent with a Capital Adequacy Ratio of (1.01 per cent). Thus, a minimum capital injection of N204.94 billion will be required in the five banks to meet the minimum capital adequacy ratio of 10per cent.

For sometime the paradigm shift and the leap forward by Nigerian banks were the talk of town and around the world. As an emerging market, Nigerian banks were receiving accolades and awards from international financial institutions. Investors were excited about Nigerian banking stocks and capital flow into the market was enormous. Credit was given to the capitalization of the banks at the tune of N25 billion naira that was initiated by Professor Chukwuma Soludo, until almost 120 days ago, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria. He is currently seeking to become Governor of Anambra State of Nigeria.

In the third quarter of 2006, the Banker Magazine, an arm of the Financial Times Group released its world renowned Top 1000 World Banks ranking for 2006 and on the list were nine Nigerian Banks: First Bank, Union Bank, Zenith International Bank, IBTC Chartered Bank, Intercontinental Bank, Spring Bank, GT Bank, First Inland and Oceanic Bank. According to the magazine, the increase in the number of Nigerian banks in this global 1,000 listing is “due to the consolidation that has taken place in the banking sector in Nigeria since 1st January 2006 and the creation of larger banking institutions with a minimum capital requirement of N25 billion.”

But presently we are beginning to realize that the banks are becoming vulnerable to laxity in the system. Therefore there must a coherent and enduring reform coupled with the enhancement of the rules and regulations.

The brilliant and pragmatic CBN executive governor, Sanusi Lamido is rising to the occasion and is at guard to save the banking sector. The CBN chieftain deserves support from Nigerians so he can able to restore the integrity of the banking sector. This is not the time to be cynical and to read unnecessary meanings into the action he is taking to rectify the anomaly. Let us give him a chance and lend CBN our moral support. At same time we must also demand from CBN to be forthright, accurate and to avoid unnecessary mistakes that might cast shadow on their determined goal.

The CBN must go further and come up with a doable comprehensive blueprint to reform the banking sector. To look into the rules and ordinances of the banking and readjust them where there are lax and weakness in the system. At this time of global economic melt down, the last thing Nigeria needs is to be weaken further by problems of the banking sector. The ramification will be capital flight and restriction of flow of capital for wealth creation in Nigeria. Already the Standard and Poor’s lowered Nigeria credit rating from BB-minus to B- plus.

Nigerian Banks must not abandon the serious job of tackling inflation and building a stronger currency to the central bank. They can be a partner to monetary and fiscal policies of the government by adhering to rules and regulations of banking sector and not trying to exploit the loopholes for short time gain and by so doing weaken the banking sector.

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Obama’s Africa agenda, our business and democracyBy Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston;

USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal

www.usafricaonline.com/chido.obamaafrica09.html

www.USAfricaonline.com/chido-obamaafrica09/ 

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Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and the Nigeria360 e-group. http://www.usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/ : IF any of the Nigerian President’s 100 advisers has the polite courage for the extraordinary task of reminding His Excellency of his foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation to the national interest about security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in Nigeria, please whisper clearly to Mr. President that I said, respectfully: Nigerians, at home and abroad, are still concerned and afraid for living in what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. FULL text of commentary at USAfricaonline.com http://www.usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/

• Nigeria’s bin-Laden cheerleaders could ignite religious war, destabilize Africa. By USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwuhttp://www.usafricaonline.com/chido.binladennigeria.html http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=USAfrica+Chido+Nwangwu+al-qaeda+terrrorism+nigeria&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 http://www.usafricaonline.com/tag/al-qaeda/ 310 killed by Nigeria’s ‘talibans’ in Bauchi, Yobe n Maiduguri; crises escalate. USAfricaonline.com  on  July 28, 2009. www.usafricaonline.com/chido.ngrtalibans09.html http://www.groundreport.com/World/310-killed-by-Nigerias-talibans-in-Bauchi-Yobe-n-M/2904584

Jonathan’s Boko Haram problem and firing of Ringim. By Chido Nwangwu http://www.usafricaonline.com/2012/01/25/jonathans-boko-haram-problem-and-firing-of-ringim-by-chido-nwangwu/

Related and prior reporting on the Jos crises on USAfrica, click here: http://www.usafricaonline.com/2011/08/16/10-killed-in-renewed-violence-near-jos/

News archives related to Jos, here http://www.usafricaonline.com/?s=jos 310 killed by Nigeria’s ‘talibans’ in Bauchi, Yobe n Maiduguri; crises escalate. USAfricaonline.com  on  July 28, 2009. www.usafricaonline.com/chido.ngrtalibans09.html http://www.groundreport.com/World/310-killed-by-Nigerias-talibans-in-Bauchi-Yobe-n-M/2904584

 

Trump looks foolish and crazy screaming about Obama’s birth certificates, college records and Muslim connection. By Raynard Jackson

Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa’s writer of the century. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica, and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com http://www.usafricaonline.com/chido.achebebest.html

——

In the light of an icon, my mentor Stanley Macebuh (1942-2010). By Chido Nwangwu  http://www.usafricaonline.com/2011/03/07/stanley-macebuh-tribute-by-chido-nwangwu/

The greatest Igbo ODUMEGWU OJUKWU’s great farewell in Aba. By Chido Nwangwu   http://www.usafricaonline.com/2012/02/28/the-greatest-igbo-odumegwu-ojukwu-farewell-in-aba-by-chido-nwangwu

USAfrica: Ikemba ODUMEGWU OJUKWU’s farewell in Aba, today February 28, 2012, reflected a fitting tribute, historically meaningful celebration, proper regard and deserving appreciation of the greatest Igbo, in my opinion, to have ever lived (like him or hate him).

Ojukwu-General-Republic-of-Biafra-Lifemagpix-via-USAfrica

I SALUTE Aba (aka Enyimba city), the robust and fearless town I was born, bred and raised, for giving the Ikemba, our Ochiagha, Gburugburu, Oka oburu uzo, dike na ndu ma n’onwu, mgbadike anyi, a hero’s farewell.

To the Ikemba, may your valiant soul rest in peace and dignity.

We will, and I, Chido Nwangwu, will never forget to continue to tell my generation and the next about your towering courage through tempest and thunder; through sorrow, pain, tears, blood….   •Dr. Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; and recipient of several journalism and public policy awards, was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn.

News: At Ojukwu memorial in Dallas Texas, USAfrica’s Chido Nwangwu challenges the Igbo nation to say never again like Jews.

Ojukwu trouble and Ikemba titles. By Chido Nwangwu

• For seasoned insights and breaking news on these issues, log on to USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica powered e-groups including Nigeria360 at yahoogroups and USAfrica at googlegroups. Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido and Twitter.com/Chido247

 

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Awofeso: Nigeria’s odyssey and the diffident leadership of President Yar’Adua

Awofeso: Nigeria’s odyssey and the diffident leadership of President Yar’Adua
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Nigeria: Who Is In The Garden?
By Seyi Olu Awofeso
“Ain’t no stopping us now, we’re on the move”, was sang by the popular American pop stars McFadden and Whitehead. They were hurriedly flown into Nigeria by Mobil Oil Producing Company in June 1999, to play for at the time (1999) Nigeria’s newly-elected President, Olusegun Obasanjo and his dancing entourage at a premature celebration of an imagined democracy in Abuja. Nine years on, and a confessional later, Obasanjo lamented in local newspapers in May 2009 that “Nigeria is not moving forward.” Indeed, that false dawn of 1999 reached its crescendo this summer of 2009, with less than 1,500 megawatts of currently generated electricity, which thrust the robbed country into all but permanent darkness.
“Only a bloody revolution can save Nigeria”, said the country’s foremost constitutionalist, Professor Ben Nwabueze, in December, shunning further recourse to law as a sensible solution to Nigeria’s several cul-de-sacs. Nigeria’s distress gets worse complicated given that the country hasn’t a provable national account, or, a honest official record, since 1999. Flustered into near-paralysis by a presumed carnage likely visited on the country’s treasury between 1999 and 2007 in consequence, Nigeria’s newly-elected President, 56-year-old Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, appears clueless to the Nigerian elite.
“He is a spineless but harmless president”, said Lt. General Yakubu Danjuma, Nigeria’s ex-Army Chief. In June 2009, head of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, the 72-year-old Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, issued a denunciatory press statement. “President Yar’Adua’s performance score in his one year in office is zero, without any equivocation”, said the straight-talking Cardinal.
In truth, anomie lately replaced law and order in Nigeria, with everyone’s personal safety at risk of bullets from rampaging armed youths committed to blood-letting orgies. And even though the storms were gathering since the 1970s, when stealing became a national obsession in Nigeria’s public office, not once before were Nigerian elite agreed that their country is, in effect, dropping into the abyss.
But now, with society’s distinction between right and wrong badly broken, and, with crooked standards of instant wealth now set for Nigerian youths by free examples of past treasury thieves, Nigeria has recently become un-liveable for the elite themselves. Day to day, the elite’s financial investments are being stolen inside private companies by well-educated employees whose self-given belief is that the elite stole those initial investments as well. “Even if Nigeria has not become a failed state,” said Professor Akin Oyebode, a famous international law teacher at the University of Lagos, “it seems pretty obvious that it is now approaching a failed state.”
A den of thieves which Nigeria has become, can no longer secure the hoard of the country’s past thieves or assure a seamless transmission of stolen wealth from father to child. “Nigeria is therefore in a revolutionary situation,” said an analyst, “because it cannot continue on this path without inconvenience or reverse purely on the elite’s voluntary renunciation of their thievish ways.”
That’s the rub, and there also enter Nigeria’s national and 36 States’ Assemblies, which must take the next huge blame for failing to stand in the gap, whilst this national rot deepened.
Under several pretexts, the legislators, including councillors at local government levels, rather joined in the rot, to destroy the country’s last political line of defence against horrendous financial waste and thefts.
The House of Representatives’ Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, for example, is faster acquiring a peripatetic reputation than he’s acquiring any reputation for sensibly utilising the legislative power of state to reverse Nigeria’s collapse.
He returned last week from an all expenses paid trip to the United States, Britain and France where he was accompanied by 26 house members, all financed from national taxes. The 27 of them claim to have done this junketing on behalf of the people of Nigeria as part of their legislative “capacity building”.
Cut to the chase, “capacity building” however has no meaning in legislative practice except as a term of deception for administrative access to the peoples’ taxes for government officials’ personal use.
Moreover, there’s no political culture similar to Nigeria’s in the United States, or in Britain or France, that can help build the capacity of any of the 27 legislators to better understand or resolve the reasons for the apparent failure of Nigeria, legislatively.
Besides, in a national parliament having no weighted votes, paid-for flights plus lodgings in four-star hotel for the 27 out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives, only translates into personal comfort and enrichment for each of the 27 selected ones, at $400 per day allowance, because those 27 legislators have one vote each at plenary, just like the other 333 legislators not taken along on the trip. Given such instances of the frittering away of public money into private pockets, it is hard to tell if anyone is now standing in the gap for Nigeria, a year after its last self-declared nationalist (General Olusegun Obasanjo) badly exposed himself in a democratic setting as grossly incompetent and unaccountable.
Nigeria, in effect of Obasanjo’s incompetence, is presently “a fragile state; whose institutions can no longer perform their functions”, according to a World Bank statement issued in January That indictment however rides the back of a more damning characterisation of the country by Amnesty International last July. “Politics in Nigeria is closer to criminal activity than to a reasoned attempt at nation-building,” said Amnesty International. Tone-deaf to these international warnings, Nigerian public officials and politicians continue to burrow in their looting holes.
Since 1999, all but one Inspectors-General of Police were indicted for fraud and stealing. There’s now nobody to report infamy to in Nigeria for meaningful redress, with the heads of the country’s Police so routinely passing corrupt batons in succession to one another. As likely as not, that rot in Nigeria’s Police further impedes the chances of resolving anything else in Nigeria, where the south-eastern Ijaw communities have been in a virtual civil war with the country’s army for a decade.
With an armed war in its south, and with the rhetoric of revolution currently on the lips of its elite, Nigeria is in political distress. The chances of pulling the country away from the precipice are rapidly vanishing, because Nigeria’s current politicians, mostly dilettantes, are lacking in knowledge and clarity of thought on what to do to make “the 140 million un-represented peoples of Nigeria” live in dignity and with a concretely-felt hope in tomorrow.
This September, Nigeria’s predictably dire future will be re-assessed in the Supreme Court, along with the 2007 elections, to decide the ultimate political question of whether or not Nigeria will continue on its current odyssey under the yet diffident leadership of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
•Awofeso, a contributing writer to USAfricaonline.com, is based in Lagos
Nigeria's flag animation

Nigeria's flag animation

Nigeria’s odyssey and the diffident leadership of President Yar’Adua

By Seyi Olu Awofeso

Special to USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine, Houston

In these closing months of 2009, Nigeria’s predictably dire future will need to be re-assessed to decide the ultimate political question of whether or not Nigeria will continue on its current odyssey under the yet diffident leadership of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Nigeria in_africamapFirst , a necessary flashback. “Ain’t no stopping us now, we’re on the move…”, was sang by the popular American pop stars McFadden and Whitehead. They were hurriedly flown into Nigeria by Mobil Oil Producing Company in June 1999, to play for Nigeria’s then newly-elected President, Olusegun Obasanjo and his dancing entourage at a premature celebration of an imagined democracy in Abuja. After his 8-year tenure, and one year afterwards, a confessional by Obasanjo lamented in Nigerian newspapers in May 2009 that “Nigeria is not moving forward.” Indeed, that false dawn of 1999 reached its crescendo this summer of 2009, with less than 1,500 megawatts of currently generated electricity, which thrust the robbed country into all but permanent darkness — just as it was under Obasanjo.

“Only a bloody revolution can save Nigeria”, said the country’s foremost constitutionalist, Professor Ben Nwabueze, in December 2008, shunning further recourse to law as a sensible solution to Nigeria’s several cul-de-sacs.

Nigeria’s distress gets worse complicated given that the country hasn’t a provable national account, or, a honest official record, since 1999. Flustered into near-paralysis by a presumed carnage likely visited on the country’s treasury between 1999 and 2007 in consequence, Nigeria’s newly-elected President, 56-year-old Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, appears clueless to the Nigerian elite. 

“He is a spineless but harmless president”, said Lt. General Yakubu Danjuma, Nigeria’s ex-Army Chief. In June 2009, head of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, the 72-year-old Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, issued a denunciatory press statement. “President Yar’Adua’s performance score in his one year in office is zero, without any equivocation”, said the straight-talking Cardinal.

In truth, anomie lately replaced law and order in Nigeria, with everyone’s personal safety at risk of bullets from rampaging armed youths committed to blood-letting orgies. And even though the storms were gathering since the 1970s, when stealing became a national obsession in Nigeria’s public office, not once before were Nigerian elite agreed that their country is, in effect, dropping into the abyss.

But now, with society’s distinction between right and wrong badly broken, and, with crooked standards of instant wealth now set for Nigerian youths by free examples of past treasury thieves, Nigeria has recently become un-liveable for the elite themselves. Day to day, the elite’s financial investments are being stolen inside private companies by well-educated employees whose self-given belief is that the elite stole those initial investments as well. “Even if Nigeria has not become a failed state,” said Professor Akin Oyebode, a famous international law teacher at the University of Lagos, “it seems pretty obvious that it is now approaching a failed state.”

A den of thieves which Nigeria has become, can no longer secure the hoard of the country’s past thieves or assure a seamless transmission of stolen wealth from father to child. “Nigeria is therefore in a revolutionary situation,” said an analyst, “because it cannot continue on this path without inconvenience or reverse purely on the elite’s voluntary renunciation of their thievish ways.”

That’s the rub, and there also enter Nigeria’s national and 36 States’ Assemblies, which must take the next huge blame for failing to stand in the gap, whilst this national rot deepened.

Under several pretexts, the legislators, including councillors at local government levels, rather joined in the rot, to destroy the country’s last political line of defence against horrendous financial waste and thefts.

The House of Representatives’ Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, for example, is faster acquiring a peripatetic reputation than he’s acquiring any reputation for sensibly utilising the legislative power of state to reverse Nigeria’s collapse.

He returned last week from an all expenses paid trip to the United States, Britain and France where he was accompanied by 26 house members, all financed from national taxes. The 27 of them claim to have done this junketing on behalf of the people of Nigeria as part of their legislative “capacity building”.

Cut to the chase, “capacity building” however has no meaning in legislative practice except as a term of deception for administrative access to the peoples’ taxes for government officials’ personal use.

Moreover, there’s no political culture similar to Nigeria’s in the United States, or in Britain or France, that can help build the capacity of any of the 27 legislators to better understand or resolve the reasons for the apparent failure of Nigeria, legislatively.

Besides, in a national parliament having no weighted votes, paid-for flights plus lodgings in four-star hotel for the 27 out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives, only translates into personal comfort and enrichment for each of the 27 selected ones, at $400 per day allowance, because those 27 legislators have one vote each at plenary, just like the other 333 legislators not taken along on the trip. Given such instances of the frittering away of public money into private pockets, it is hard to tell if anyone is now standing in the gap for Nigeria, a year after its last self-declared nationalist (General Olusegun Obasanjo) badly exposed himself in a democratic setting as grossly incompetent and unaccountable.

Nigeria, in effect of Obasanjo’s incompetence, is presently “a fragile state; whose institutions can no longer perform their functions”, according to a World Bank statement issued in January That indictment however rides the back of a more damning characterisation of the country by Amnesty International last July. “Politics in Nigeria is closer to criminal activity than to a reasoned attempt at nation-building,” said Amnesty International. Tone-deaf to these international warnings, Nigerian public officials and politicians continue to burrow in their looting holes.

Since 1999, all but one Inspectors-General of Police were indicted for fraud and stealing. There’s now nobody to report infamy to in Nigeria for meaningful redress, with the heads of the country’s Police so routinely passing corrupt batons in succession to one another. As likely as not, that rot in Nigeria’s Police further impedes the chances of resolving anything else in Nigeria, where the south-eastern Ijaw communities have been in a virtual civil war with the country’s army for a decade.

With an armed war in its south, and with the rhetoric of revolution currently on the lips of its elite, Nigeria is in political distress. The chances of pulling the country away from the precipice are rapidly vanishing, because Nigeria’s current politicians, mostly dilettantes, are lacking in knowledge and clarity of thought on what to do to make “the 140 million un-represented peoples of Nigeria” live in dignity and with a concretely-felt hope in tomorrow.

•Awofeso, an attorney and contributing writer for USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine, is based in Lagos, Nigeria.

OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?

By Chido Nwangwu

http://www.usafricaonline.com/chido.petrogas.html


USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com (characterized by The New York
Times as the  most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia
networks) established May 1992, our first edition of USAfrica magazine
was published August 1993; USAfrica The Newspaper on May 11, 1994;
CLASSmagazine on May 2, 2003; www.PhotoWorks.TV in 2005


——
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Oprah picks Nigerian author’s short stories

Oprah picks Nigerian author’s short stories
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In a live broadcast from Central Park on Friday, Oprah Winfrey annnounced that Say You’re One of Them, a collection of stories from Nigerian author Uwem Akpan, is the latest Oprah’s Book Club pick. Each of the five stories in Say You’re One of Them is narrated by a child from a different country in Africa, and each, through the lense of a child, opens a door into the hard lives of these children and their families.
Uwem Akpan studied philosophy and English in the U.S. before returning to Africa to study theology. After becoming ordained as a Jesuit priest, he returned to the U.S. to study creative writing. Learn more from the Say You’re One of Them website or at Oprah’s Book Club. By By Mark Flanagan
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Oprah’s Book Club picks Nigerian author’s short stories

Special to USAfricaonline.com, AchebeBooks.com and USAfricaBOOKS

In a live broadcast from Central Park on Friday September 25, 2009, Oprah Winfrey annnounced that Say You’re One of Them, a collection of stories from Nigerian author Uwem Akpan, is the latest Oprah’s Book Club pick. Each of the five stories in Say You’re One of Them is narrated by a child from a different country in Africa, and each, through the lense of a child, opens a door into the hard lives of these children and their families.

Uwem Akpan studied philosophy and English in the U.S. before returning to Africa to study theology. After becoming ordained as a Jesuit priest, he returned to the U.S. to study creative writing. Learn more from the Say You’re One of Them website or at Oprah’s Book Club. By Mark Flanagan. Photo by Comfort Ukpong.

————-

A visit by USAfricaBOOKS to Uwem’s website showed these notes: “I was inspired to write by the people who sit around my village church to share palm wine after Sunday Mass, by the Bible, and by the humour and endurance of the poor.


Growing up, my mother told me folktales and got me and my three brothers to read a lot. I became a fiction writer during my seminary days. I wrote at night, when the community computers were free. Computer viruses ate much of my work.

Finally, my friend Wes Harris believed in me enough to get me a laptop. This saved me from the despair of losing my stories and made me begin to see God again in the seminary. The stories I saved on that first laptop are the core of Say You’re One of Them.”

Uwem’s official bio:

Uwem Akpan was born in Ikot Akpan Eda in southern Nigeria. After studying philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities, he studied theology for three years at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 2003 and received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan in 2006. “My Parents’ Bedroom,” a story from his short story collection, Say You’re One of Them, was one of five short stories by African writers chosen as finalists for The Caine Prize for African Writing 2007.Say You’re One of Them won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Africa Region) 2009 and PEN/Beyond Margins Award 2009, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. In 2007, Akpan taught at a Jesuit college in Harare, Zimbabwe. Now he serves at Christ the King Church, Ilasamaja-Lagos, Nigeria.

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Democrats who voted against public OPTION got $19 million from healthcare firms, lobbyists

Democrats who voted against public OPTION got $19 million from healthcare firms, lobbyists
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Democrats who voted against public option got $19 million from healthcare firms


By Muriel Kane
Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
Five Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee who voted on Tuesday to shoot down a proposed public option for the health care reform bill — a measure which polls show is favored by 81% of Democrats — are coming under close scrutiny for their ties to the health care industry.
According to Intershame.com — a site which aims to draw attention to misbehavior — those five senators have collectively been the recipients of over $19 million in donations from health care, pharmaceutical, and health insurance companies over the course of their Congressional careers.
Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) alone accounts for nearly $8 million of the total. In addition, five of his former staff members — including two former chiefs of staff — are now lobbyists representing organizations with a strong interest in the health care bill.
Joan Walsh of Salon took Baucus to task for his vote, writing, “So let’s get this straight: Baucus admits the public option would ‘hold insurance companies’ feet to the fire,’ but he voted against it? Is there any clearer evidence that Baucus is in the pocket of the health insurance industry?”
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) comes in second on the Intershame list, with about $4 million in health industry donations, and Kent Conrad (D-ND) is third at around $3 million. Like Baucus, both Lincoln and Conrad have former chiefs of staff who are now health industry lobbyists.
Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com did some number-crunching last June which revealed the extent to which health insurance donations can influence Congressional voting. “Lobbying contributions appear to have the largest marginal impact on middle-of-the-road Democrats,” Silver wrote. “Liberal Democrats are likely to hold firm to the public option unless they receive a lot of remuneration from health care PACs. Conservative Democrats may not support the public option in the first place for ideological reasons, although money can certainly push them more firmly against it. But the impact on mainline Democrats appears to be quite large.”
Calls are already appearing at places like the liberal message board Democratic Underground for progressives to sponsor primary challenges to all three senators.
Bill Nelson (D-FL) at $2.5 million and Tom Carper (D-DE) at $1.5 million fill out the Intershame list. Both voted in favor of the weaker Schumer version of a public option, which would not include robust measure to control costs, but against the stronger version proposed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller. Carper has also been a prominent supporter of a “trigger,” which would activate a public option only “if there is no meaningful competition after a couple of years.”
“If money is the reason these five Democrats rejected the public option,” Intershame concludes, “then it only took a little over 19 million dollars over 20 years to buy the five votes the health insurance industry needed to kill any meaningful reform to their industry. 19 million dollars is nothing compared to the profits the insurance industry will make if a public option is defeated. They got a great deal for that 19 million. The American people? Not so much.” RawStoryDemocrats who voted against public option got $19 million from healthcare firms
By Muriel Kane
Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
Five Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee who voted on Tuesday to shoot down a proposed public option for the health care reform bill — a measure which polls show is favored by 81% of Democrats — are coming under close scrutiny for their ties to the health care industry.
According to Intershame.com — a site which aims to draw attention to misbehavior — those five senators have collectively been the recipients of over $19 million in donations from health care, pharmaceutical, and health insurance companies over the course of their Congressional careers.
Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) alone accounts for nearly $8 million of the total. In addition, five of his former staff members — including two former chiefs of staff — are now lobbyists representing organizations with a strong interest in the health care bill.
Joan Walsh of Salon took Baucus to task for his vote, writing, “So let’s get this straight: Baucus admits the public option would ‘hold insurance companies’ feet to the fire,’ but he voted against it? Is there any clearer evidence that Baucus is in the pocket of the health insurance industry?”
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) comes in second on the Intershame list, with about $4 million in health industry donations, and Kent Conrad (D-ND) is third at around $3 million. Like Baucus, both Lincoln and Conrad have former chiefs of staff who are now health industry lobbyists.
Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com did some number-crunching last June which revealed the extent to which health insurance donations can influence Congressional voting. “Lobbying contributions appear to have the largest marginal impact on middle-of-the-road Democrats,” Silver wrote. “Liberal Democrats are likely to hold firm to the public option unless they receive a lot of remuneration from health care PACs. Conservative Democrats may not support the public option in the first place for ideological reasons, although money can certainly push them more firmly against it. But the impact on mainline Democrats appears to be quite large.”
Calls are already appearing at places like the liberal message board Democratic Underground for progressives to sponsor primary challenges to all three senators.
Bill Nelson (D-FL) at $2.5 million and Tom Carper (D-DE) at $1.5 million fill out the Intershame list. Both voted in favor of the weaker Schumer version of a public option, which would not include robust measure to control costs, but against the stronger version proposed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller. Carper has also been a prominent supporter of a “trigger,” which would activate a public option only “if there is no meaningful competition after a couple of years.”
“If money is the reason these five Democrats rejected the public option,” Intershame concludes, “then it only took a little over 19 million dollars over 20 years to buy the five votes the health insurance industry needed to kill any meaningful reform to their industry. 19 million dollars is nothing compared to the profits the insurance industry will make if a public option is defeated. They got a great deal for that 19 million. The American people? Not so much.” RawStory

Democrats who voted against public OPTION got $19 million from healthcare firms, lobbyists

By Muriel Kane/RawStory

Five Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee who voted on Tuesday to shoot down a proposed public option for the health care reform bill — a measure which polls show is favored by 81% of Democrats — are coming under close scrutiny for their ties to the health care industry.

HealthCare.Senate-finance.team

According to Intershame.com — a site which aims to draw attention to misbehavior — those five senators have collectively been the recipients of over $19 million in donations from health care, pharmaceutical, and health insurance companies over the course of their Congressional careers.

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) alone accounts for nearly $8 million of the total. In addition, five of his former staff members — including two former chiefs of staff — are now lobbyists representing organizations with a strong interest in the health care bill.

Joan Walsh of Salon.com took Baucus to task for his vote, writing, “So let’s get this straight: Baucus admits the public option would ‘hold insurance companies’ feet to the fire,’ but he voted against it? Is there any clearer evidence that Baucus is in the pocket of the health insurance industry?”

Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) comes in second on the Intershame list, with about $4 million in health industry donations, and Kent Conrad (D-ND) is third at around $3 million. Like Baucus, both Lincoln and Conrad have former chiefs of staff who are now health industry lobbyists.

Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com did some number-crunching last June which revealed the extent to which health insurance donations can influence Congressional voting. “Lobbying contributions appear to have the largest marginal impact on middle-of-the-road Democrats,” Silver wrote. “Liberal Democrats are likely to hold firm to the public option unless they receive a lot of remuneration from health care PACs. Conservative Democrats may not support the public option in the first place for ideological reasons, although money can certainly push them more firmly against it. But the impact on mainline Democrats appears to be quite large.”

Calls are already appearing at places like the liberal message board Democratic Underground for progressives to sponsor primary challenges to all three senators.

Bill Nelson (D-FL) at $2.5 million and Tom Carper (D-DE) at $1.5 million fill out the Intershame list. Both voted in favor of the weaker Schumer version of a public option, which would not include robust measure to control costs, but against the stronger version proposed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller. Carper has also been a prominent supporter of a “trigger,” which would activate a public option only “if there is no meaningful competition after a couple of years.”

“If money is the reason these five Democrats rejected the public option,” Intershame concludes, “then it only took a little over 19 million dollars over 20 years to buy the five votes the health insurance industry needed to kill any meaningful reform to their industry. 19 million dollars is nothing compared to the profits the insurance industry will make if a public option is defeated. They got a great deal for that 19 million. The American people? Not so much.” Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

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Suleiman: I am Hungry, Please Re-brand me

Suleiman: I am Hungry, Please Re-brand me
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USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com (characterized by The New York
Times as the  most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia
networks) established May 1992, our first edition of USAfrica magazine
was published August 1993; USAfrica The Newspaper on May 11, 1994;
CLASSmagazine on May 2, 2003; www.PhotoWorks.TV in 2005
——

I am Hungry, Please Re-brand me
By Salisu Suleiman

Special to USAfrica, CLASSmagazine & USAfricaonline.com Houston, Texas

2009: I am Nigeria. I have millions of acres of arable land and billions of cubic litres of water, but I cannot feed myself. So I spend $1 billion to import rice and another $2 billion to import milk. I produce rice, but don’t eat it. I have 60 million cattle but no milk. I am hungry, please re-brand me.

I drive the latest cars in the world but have no roads. I lose family and friends everyday on roads for which funds have been looted. I lose my young, my old, and my most brainy and productive people to the potholes, craters and crevasses they travel on everyday. I am in permanent mourning, please re-brand me.

My school has no teacher and my classroom has no roof. I take lecture notes through the window and live with 15 others in a single room. All my professors have gone abroad, and the rest are awaiting visas. I am a university graduate, but I am illiterate. I want a future, please re-brand me.

Malaria, typhoid and many other preventable diseases send me to hospitals which have no doctors, no medicines and no power. So my wife gives birth with candle light and surgery is performed by quacks. All the nurses have gone abroad and the rest are waiting to go also. I have the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world and future generations are dying before me. I am hopeless, hapless and helpless, please re-brand me.

I wanted change so I stood all day long to cast my vote. But even before I could vote, the results had been announced. When I dared to speak out, silence was enthroned by bullets. My rulers are my oppressors, and my policemen are my terrors. I am ruled by men in mufti, but I am not a democracy. I have no verve, no vote, no voice, please re-brand me.

I have 50 million youths with no jobs, no present and no future. So my sons in the North have become street urchins and his brothers in the South have become militants. My nephews die of thirst in the Sahara and his cousins drown in the waters of the Mediterranean. My daughters walk the streets of Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, while her sisters parade the streets of Rome and Amsterdam. I am inconsolable, please re-brand me.

My people cannot sleep at night and cannot relax by day. They cannot use ATM machines, nor use cheques. My children sleep through staccato of AK 47s see through the mist of tear gas. The leaders have looted everything on the ground and below. They walk the land with haughty strides and fly the skies with private jets. They have stolen the future of generations yet unborn and have money they cannot spend in several lifetimes, but their brothers die of hunger. I want justice, please re-brand me.

I can produce anything, but import everything. So my toothpick is made in China; my toothpaste is made in South Africa; my salt is made in Ghana; my butter is made in Ireland; my milk is made in Holland; my shoe is made in Italy; my vegetable oil is made in Malaysia; my biscuit is made in Indonesia; my chocolate is made in Turkey and my table water made in France. My taste is far-flung and foreign, please re-brand me.

My people are cancerous from the greed of their friends who bleach palm oil with chemicals; my children died because they drank ‘My Pikin’ with NAFDAC numbers; my poor die because kerosene explodes in their faces; my land is dead because all the trees have been cut down; flood kills my people yearly because the drainages are clogged; my fishes are dead because the oil companies dump waste in my rivers; my communities are vanishing into the huge yawns of gully erosion, and nothing is being done. My livelihood is in jeopardy, and I am in the uttermost depths of despondence, please re-brand me.

I have genuine leather but choose to eat it. So I spend a billion dollars to import fake leather. I have four refineries, but prefer to import fuel, so I waste more billions to import petrol. I have no security in my country, but would rather send troops to keep the peace in another man’s land. I have 160 dams, but can not get water to drink, so I buy ‘pure’ water that roils my innards. I have a million children waiting to enter universities, but my ivory dungeons can only take a tenth. I have no power, but choose to flare gas, so my people have learnt to see in the dark and stare at the glare of naked flares. I have no direction, please re-brand me.

My people pray to God every morning and every night, but commit every crime known to man because re-branded identities will never alter the tunes of inbred rhythms. Just as the drums of heritage heralds the frenzied jingles, remember – the Nigerian soul can only be Nigerian – fighting free from the cold embrace of a government that has no spring, no sense, no shame. So we watch the possessed, frenzied dance, drenched in silent tears as freedom is locked up in democracy’s empty cellars. I need guidance, please re-brand me.

But then, why can I not simply be me, without being re-branded? Or does my complexion cloud the color of my character? Does my location limit the lengths my liberty? Does the spirit of my conviction shackle my soul? Does my mien maim the mine of my mind? And is this life worth re-branding? I am not yet born, please re-brand me.

Salisu is a commentator on Nigeria’s public policy and social issues. The preceding commentary has drawn massive interests for its witty and biting edge.

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Guinea’s dictator Camara apologizes: claims “atrocities” by “uncontrollable elements in the military….”

Guinea’s dictator Camara apologizes: claims “atrocities” by “uncontrollable elements in the military….”
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Guinea’s dictator Camara apologizes: claims “atrocities” by “uncontrollable elements in the military.”

Moussa Dadis Camara, Guinea’s military leader, has apologized for the massacre of almost 160 of the country’s citizens by its own soldiers and police. More than 1300 others were injured. The brutal events have drawn international condemnation. Camara said: “Very frankly speaking, I’m very sorry, very sorry….”Even I, as head of state in this very tense situation, cannot claim to be able to control those elements in the military.”moussa-camara-guinea08

He authorized  two days of national mourning for Wednesday Sept 30, and Thursday October 1, 2009, and has promised an inquiry. However, he warned that “Any mass gatherings which are of a subversive nature are banned.”

Mouctar Diallo, a human rights activist, said on Radio France International
“I saw this myself….They were raping women publicly. Soldiers were shooting everywhere and I saw people fall.”
Guinea’s government has promised an investigation into why members of the military opened fire on an opposition protest killing, by some accounts, more than 150 people. On Tuesday September 29, 2009, Camara made his first public appearance since the brutal crackdown. The military leader Camara seized power in December  2008 following the death of the long-ruling president Lansana Conte.

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Africa Action, ECOWAS condemn Guinea’s killing of 160 “peaceful demonstrators”

Africa Action, ECOWAS condemn Guinea’s killing of 160 “peaceful demonstrators”
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USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com (characterized by The New York
Times as the  most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia
networks) established May 1992, our first edition of USAfrica magazine
was published August 1993; USAfrica The Newspaper on May 11, 1994;
CLASSmagazine on May 2, 2003; www.PhotoWorks.TV in 2005
——

On Guinea killings of 160 citizens, Africa Action calls on U.S. to support Human Rights, Rule of Law; ECOWAS sends its condemnation and concerns

Special to USAfricaonline.com, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal.

The Washington, DC-based group Africa Action has taken measure of  reports that almost 160  people were killed in Conakry, the capital of Guinea where soldiers and police fired on opposition protesters and activists. In a statement sent to USAfricaonline.com, Africa Action “unequivocally condemns this brutal repression and calls upon the U.S. Government and the international community to publicly condemn the actions of the military Junta.
More worrying are reports that women are being especially targeted for abuse by the military. Specific information has pointed to the fact that large numbers of women have been raped or sexually abused.”

Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa Action said “This situation in Guinea is appalling. While debate and divisions between political parties are welcome, we are now receiving word of abductions, torture, and rape in the capitol area. The U.S. must break the silence and publicly condemn the violence.”
The group added that the military junta in Guinea must be held accountable for this gross violation of human rights. “Africa Action calls for an end to the culture of impunity that has prevailed so far in the country, before human rights conditions decline further. The U.S. should focus on working with the African Union, the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) and civil society organizations in the region so to protect human rights activists and advance democracy and rule of law in Guinea.”

Michael Stulman, Associate Director for Policy and Communications cautioned, “Guinea cannot be relegated to the lists of failed and failing states on the continent. It is one of the richest countries on the continent, in terms of mineral wealth, however, people in the region still live in abject poverty. There is grassroots support for democracy and development, but the U.S. should exert greater leadership to support human security on the region.”

————

Insight: Obama’s Africa agenda, our business and democracy.
By Chido Nwangwu
, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal.
http://www.usafricaonline.com/chido.obamaafrica09.html

————

Ecowas slams Guinea killings
Abuja – West African regional bloc Ecowas on has joined to condemn what it called “violent repression” in Guinea a day after more than 150 people were killed in a crackdown by junta troops on opposition supporters.

The commission of the Economic Community of West African States said in a statement it had “learnt with dismay that the peaceful demonstration organised in Conakry” was met “with violent repression”.

“The Commission strongly condemns these acts of repression,” it said, deploring what it called the “use of excessive force” by security forces. Ecowas also called for an immediate release of those arrested in the incident.
It also urged the establishment of “an international committee of inquiry in collaboration with the African Union and the United Nations Commission for Human Rights” to identify those responsible and take necessary measures to address the situation.

“This tragic incident is all the more regrettable as it occurred at a time when the international community is actively working towards a satisfactory end to the prevailing crisis,” said Ecowas, based in Abuja.

It added that “the militarisation of Guinea presents further grounds” for Ecowas’ request to junta leader and current Guinea president Moussa Dadis Camara “to re-affirm his commitment not to contest the next presidential election” set to be held in late January.
News24

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U.S. AfriCom’s commander Ward: no plans to move hqs to Africa

U.S. AfriCom’s commander Ward: no plans to move hqs to Africa
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U.S. ARMY GEN. Kip Ward: neither U.S. Africa Command headquarters nor the headquarters of its Army, Marine Corps, Air Force or Navy components will be moved to the continent. (Defense Department)

USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica (characterized by The New York
Times as the  most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia
networks) established May 1992, our first edition of USAfrica magazine
was published August 1993; USAfrica The Newspaper on May 11, 1994; CLASSmagazine on May 2, 2003; www.PhotoWorks.TV in 2005
——

U.S. AfriCom’s commander Gen. William Ward says no plans to move hqs to Africa
By John T. Bennett

U.S. ARMY GEN. Kip Ward said Sept. 29 that neither U.S. Africa Command headquarters nor the headquarters of its Army, Marine Corps, Air Force or Navy components will be moved to the continent. (Defense Department)
The new command was formally established under the Bush administration, which opted to house the command’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, the home of U.S. European Command. That command was one of three U.S. military commands that had authority over Pentagon activities in Africa. U.S. officials are not planning to “send garrisons” of forces onto African soil, Ward said.

In addition to reiterating long-recited claims from Washington that it would not move the AfriCom headquarters – or those of its Army, Marine Corps, Air Force or Navy components – to Africa, Ward told an audience at the Atlantic Council in Washington that command officials have made progress explaining the organization’s aims.

He said U.S. officials have spent the past year explaining the command is aimed at helping with tasks like training African nations and “building their capacity” to maintain stability. He thinks African officials have made progress to that end.

Part of the reason AfriCom officials have had to spend over a year explaining Washington’s aims for the command, Ward said, is because initial “communications packets” highlighted things other than what the organization would focus on. September 30, 2009, Defense News

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Darfur, Sudanese refugees face rape daily in Chad

Darfur, Sudanese refugees face rape daily in Chad
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Report: Sudanese refugees face rape daily in Chad
By TOM MALITI (AP) – 6 hours ago
NAIROBI, Kenya — Women and girls who fled the fighting in Darfur face rape and other violence daily in eastern Chad, even inside the very refugee camps where they have sought sanctuary, according to a report released Wednesday.
The Amnesty International report says the women and girls are attacked by villagers living nearby, members of the Chadian army and aid workers in the camps. The global human rights body says it is difficult to give the exact number of victims because they rarely report the violence.
“Many people know that women who venture outside refugee camps in eastern Chad to collect firewood and water face harassment and rape,” said Tawanda Hondora, the deputy director of Amnesty International’s Africa program.
“What people don’t realize is that there is little safety inside the camps for these same women,” said Hondora in a statement. “They face the risk of rape and other violence at the hands of family members, other refugees, and staff of humanitarian organizations, whose task it is to provide them with assistance and support.”
Officials with the U.N. refugee agency that manages the camps declined to comment on the report, saying they had not read it.
Chadian government spokesman Mahamat Hissene denied that any Chadian had attacked the Sudanese refugees.
“Before the refugees came, we did not have rape cases in Chad,” Hissene told The Associated Press. Rape cases started, “when the Sudanese came. If there are cases of rape in the camps we cannot prevent them. The government is not responsible for security in the camps.”
Eastern Chad is a temporary home to about 250,000 refugees who have fled the conflict in neighboring Sudan’s Darfur region. There are also camps for 187,000 Chadians displaced by fighting locally and in Darfur.
The United Nations has a peacekeeping force of about 2,300 soldiers in the region with a mandate to help protect civilians, improve security and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Chad also has an 800-strong unit of specially trained police and soldiers to guard the camps.
The Darfur conflict began in February 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government in Khartoum, claiming discrimination and neglect. U.N. officials say the war has claimed at least 300,000 lives from violence, disease and displacement.

Report: Sudanese refugees face rape daily in Chad

By TOM MALITI (AP) NAIROBI, Kenya — Women and girls who fled the fighting in Darfur face rape and other violence daily in eastern Chad, even inside the very refugee camps where they have sought sanctuary, according to a report released Wednesday.

The Amnesty International report says the women and girls are attacked by villagers living nearby, members of the Chadian army and aid workers in the camps. The global human rights body says it is difficult to give the exact number of victims because they rarely report the violence.

“Many people know that women who venture outside refugee camps in eastern Chad to collect firewood and water face harassment and rape,” said Tawanda Hondora, the deputy director of Amnesty International’s Africa program.

“What people don’t realize is that there is little safety inside the camps for these same women,” said Hondora in a statement. “They face the risk of rape and other violence at the hands of family members, other refugees, and staff of humanitarian organizations, whose task it is to provide them with assistance and support.”

Officials with the U.N. refugee agency that manages the camps declined to comment on the report, saying they had not read it.

Chadian government spokesman Mahamat Hissene denied that any Chadian had attacked the Sudanese refugees. “Before the refugees came, we did not have rape cases in Chad,” Hissene told The Associated Press. Rape cases started, “when the Sudanese came. If there are cases of rape in the camps we cannot prevent them. The government is not responsible for security in the camps.”

Eastern Chad is a temporary home to about 250,000 refugees who have fled the conflict in neighboring Sudan’s Darfur region. There are also camps for 187,000 Chadians displaced by fighting locally and in Darfur.

The United Nations has a peacekeeping force of about 2,300 soldiers in the region with a mandate to help protect civilians, improve security and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Chad also has an 800-strong unit of specially trained police and soldiers to guard the camps.

The Darfur conflict began in February 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government in Khartoum, claiming discrimination and neglect. U.N. officials say the war has claimed at least 300,000 lives from violence, disease and displacement.

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Related insight: Why America should halt the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. By Chido Nwangwu

Special to USAfricaonline.com, CLASS magazine, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston and The Black Business Journal

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Massacre, rapes in Guinea draw condemnation from U.S and EU.

Massacre, rapes in Guinea draw condemnation from U.S and EU.
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(Xinhua) — The United States on Tuesday condemned recent violence in Guinea between the military troops and opposition demonstrators, urging a return to civilian rule.
In a statement, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly slammed the Guinean military troops for their “brazen and inappropriate use” of force and carrying out “brutal rapes and sexual assaults” against civilians.
“We demand the immediate release of opposition leaders and a return to civilian rule as soon as possible, a move that the Guinean people themselves continue to demand,” said the spokesman.
Reports here said at least 150 people were killed and some 1,200 others wounded on Monday in a clash between the Guinean military troops and demonstrators in the capital, Conakry, where the military junta led by Captain Moussa Camara seized power in a coup in December after the death of President Lansana Conte.
Camara, who until May confirmed no part in the future presidential election to end the crisis, has recently announced his candidacy and sparked an outcry from the opposition. Tensions are escalating in the run-up to an election expected within months.
EU condemns violent events in Guinea
STOCKHOLM, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) — The European Union on Tuesday strongly condemned the violent crackdown by security forces on political demonstrations in Conakry of Guinea.
“The indiscriminate and brutal violence against these demonstrators is unacceptable. The Presidency deplores the loss of life and expresses its sympathy to the families of the victims,” said the EU’s Presidency Sweden in a statement. Full story
Guinea clash claims 60 lives as tension mounts with junta ahead of elections: report
ABIDJAN, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) — About 60 people were killed on Monday in the Guinean capital Conackry, where thousands of protestors clashed with soldiers against the military junta involvement in the January presidential elections, according to the latest information monitored here.
Security forces came to disperse the protesters. Shots were fired and teargas canisters thrown around. It was the hooded men who made the situation worse, a report posted on the website www.guineenews.org said, citing victims. Full story
Guinea shooting kills several
NAIROBI, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) — Several people were killed on Monday in Guinea after soldiers opened fire in the clash with demonstrators, according to reports reaching here.
Clash erupted between protesters and police and security forces in the capital Conakry of the West African country, where the military junta seized power in a coup in December after the death of president Lansana Conte. Full story

Massacre, rapes in Guinea draw condemnation from U.S and EU.

The United States government and the European Union on September 29, 2009 condemned recent violence in Guinea between the military troops and opposition demonstrators, urging a return to civilian rule.

In a statement, the U.S State Department spokesman Ian Kelly slammed the Guinean military troops for their “brazen and inappropriate use” of force and carrying out “brutal rapes and sexual assaults” against civilians.  “We demand the immediate release of opposition leaders and a return to civilian rule as soon as possible, a move that the Guinean people themselves continue to demand,” said the spokesman.

Reports from Guinea said at least 150 people were killed and some 1,200 others wounded on Monday in a clash between the Guinean military troops and demonstrators in the capital, Conakry, where the military junta led by Captain Moussa Camara seized power in a coup in December after the death of President Lansana Conte.

Camara, who until May confirmed no part in the future presidential election to end the crisis, has recently announced his candidacy and sparked an outcry from the opposition. Tensions are escalating in the run-up to an election expected within months.

The European Union also strongly condemned the violent crackdown by security forces on political demonstrations in Conakry of Guinea.

“The indiscriminate and brutal violence against these demonstrators is unacceptable. The Presidency deplores the loss of life and expresses its sympathy to the families of the victims,” said the EU’s Presidency Sweden in a statement.

Guinea clash claims 60 lives as tension mounts with junta ahead of elections. About 60 people were killed on Monday in the Guinean capital Conackry, where thousands of protestors clashed with soldiers against the military junta involvement in the January presidential elections, according to the latest information monitored here.

Security forces came to disperse the protesters. Shots were fired and teargas canisters thrown around. It was the hooded men who made the situation worse, a report posted on the website www.guineenews.org said, citing victims. (Xinhua)

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If it is building bigger churches, no other race surpasses ‘Black/African’ folks in Africa or USA

If it is building bigger churches, no other race surpasses ‘Black/African’ folks in Africa or USA
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USAfrica POINT-COUNTERPOINT

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USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com (characterized by The New York
Times as the  most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia
networks) established May 1992, our first edition of USAfrica magazine
was published August 1993; USAfrica The Newspaper on May 11, 1994;
CLASSmagazine on May 2, 2003; www.PhotoWorks.TV in 2005
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If it is building bigger churches, no other race surpasses ‘Black/African’ folks in Africa or USA

By Ejike E. Okpa II

Special to USAfrica & USAfricaonline.com Houston, Texas

800px-Notre_dame_de_la_paix_yamoussoukro_by_felix_krohn_retouched.jpg

The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro is a Roman Catholic minor basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, the administrative capital of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Monday August 3, 2009:

Congratulations, to all the hands and heads that saw the coming of All Saints Anglican Church, Houston, a mostly Nigerian/Igbo church. I believe that a visit there on any Sunday, is not really about doing the worship in a manger style, but showing off SUVs and big cars, the most colorful of attires, and making sure one is seen better than being viewed.

The Nigerian-Houstonians have just joined their cousins – African-Americans in doing what Blacks are known to do: build bigger churches, in mostly depressed and deprived neighborhood all in the name of God. Who says blood does lie?

Despite many years of separation from the continent, the way Blacks and Africans do things are alarmingly similar. They will build a bigger church but when it comes to doing something to help advance their community, they will have their hands out to others. No Black church or her African counterpart has embarked on an aggressive research to find a cure for sickle cell; a disease that is known to afflict mostly Black people.. In the Nigerian community in US, a recent survey indicates that about 15% of kids born to Nigerians families in US, have the disease and yet, no church big or small, has taken up this issue to address.

The biggest church in the world outside the Basilica in Italy, is in Cote D’Ivore, west Africa (picture above). In DFW between Potters House – TD Jakes, Friendship West – Fredrick Haynes, Inspiring Body of Christ – Ricky Rush, and Oak Cliff Bible Church – Tony Evans, all churches in zip codes with unemployment higher than the local average, but an expenditure of more than $300m on church edifices: Zero tax base for the community!

In Nigerian communities, what stand as a testament to community collaboration is always a religious facility.

Even in my tiny village of Ihe in  Enugu State, the people rallied and built a cathedral. However, they are not able to agree on having a community bank, scholarship fund, renovate the schools, improve the village market or create jobs for local high school graduates who are defaulting into other activities that cause concern on the well being of the people. Because black people/Africans are suspicious of seeing anyone improve on economic and business endeavors, they rather give to a church.

There is something ingrained in black/Africans people about church and its place in advancing the course and cause of man. The Americans, Europeans and now Asians that Africans run to for ‘money in a beggar style’, have lowered their desire for religious/church leanings. Without the vast number of Africans and their south Americans counterparts, the Catholic/Anglican churches would be challenged. In a recent survey by EU, many Europeans concluded that it is no longer necessary to believe in God and as a result, many churches are being converted to other uses as memberships have significantly dropped.

Blacks/Africans will not collaborate to advance their colleges, hospital, real estate/businesses that help in creating jobs and adding value to their tax base. Bishop College now Paul Quinn College, Dallas, that many Nigerians/Africans attended, is at the verge of being shot down because of finances. The vast Nigerians/Africans/ Blacks that obtained their degrees/diplomas from this institution, have not rallied to give generously to the college.

Where the move/need is to build a church on the college ground, I am sure the response would be awesome. Nigerians have no bank or credit union to help them access credit for businesses and economic development. However, they will in a flash rally for a church building.

The average black in America whether Africans or Americans will give generously to a church but will not invest in a program to advance their community. While church is a good example of coming together, it is not a good example of investment that helps advance a community in dire need. Of all the acclaimed presence of black churches in DFW, that in a given year deposit about $2 billion in area banks, there is no African-American owned bank in the area. No where in US have Africans come together to develop a credit union or have a community bank that cater to the financial needs of their respective communities.

Every ethnic group in US has one except Africans. So the Japanese comment that Africans are strong on their individual strides, is right but on collective basis, they are doormats for other races. Churches do not add to the collateral content of any community in terms of job creation or adding taxable base for revenue to the state or local community. Build them as bigger and best, they are just an edifice.

As Blacks/Africans glorify God in magnificent places, how come the lives of Blacks/Africans are yet to be magnificent in the eye of the Lord? Blacks/Africans still suffer some of the most unimaginable afflictions at the hands of others. Does it mean their prayers are not heard or that they pray the wrong prays in the wrong place they think is right? Your guess is good!

God can be worshipped in small places and still hear the prayers.. It is not so much where one worships God that matters, it is what one does after worshipping. I will not celebrate building of a church as a coming together of a people in need and search of economic presence. Anything done in the name of God is what it is.

I will bet that with all the ‘highs and cheers‘ that come from building All Saints Anglican Church, Houston, if a church member is in need of an organ donation, chances are no church member will step forward to assist or even be screened for a match. Blacks and Africans dance and sing to different music and songs, and it is no wonder their standing among other races is where it is.

Since some see religion as the opium for the poor, they may have observed blacks and their African cousins for this saying. Go to Nigeria, the only industry growing in leaps and bounds are churches and they are mega in their physical presence but shady in their conducts. At All Saints Church, Onitsha, a priest in the 1990s was indicted for poisoning a church member on behalf of a rivalry using communion. It led to church goers for a while refusing to be given ‘holy communion’ by priest. It led to communion being put in the palm.

With all the shout of thy name, black folks and Africans appear to remain far from the intention of God because they are still ones that ‘beg’ for their existence. After the worship on Sundays, where do folks go for employment? Mainly establishments owned and controlled by others.

Monday through Friday, Black folks and Africans are subjected to untold employment, business and economic torture. On Saturday, they may barbecue and on Sunday get out in their best attire to ask, sing and dance in the church, seeking temporary reprieve from the torture they endured the week before and about to embark again. There you have it, in the name of the Lord.

Okpa is Dallas-based contributing writer for USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com

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Re: Ejike Okpa on Blacks/Africans and building churches….

by Issac Ike                                                                                                 August 4, 2009

While I am captivated by Ejike’s manicured and savvy presentation of his viewpoint, I am totally disappointed by the content of the opinion.

First of all, there is no conclusive study which shows that the impediment of economic progress in black race stems from the financial investment in Churches or that the equal investment on Churches if geared towards the economic goal alone could have putting them on equal footings with other races.

If Blacks lacked strong financial and economic foundation but have diverted all other resources into spiritual foundation, then what’s wrong with it and who are we to judge? How can we determine that economic stability is far much better than spiritual stability?

If folks are willing to spend millions of Naira or dollars to building Churches, what’s wrong with it, is it not their money? After all, King Solomon spent fortune to complete the Temple of Jerusalem which was destroyed by the Babylonian troops under King Nebuchadnezzar in 900 B.C., and that Temple in today’s value worth more than a billion dollars according to the historians. If such fantastic monument could be set up then in the name of God in spite of the level of poverty then, therefore, why worry about building ten square foot of Churches in comparison with what King Solomon had built more than four thousand years ago?

You are a strong advocate of building modern Hospitals, banks, paving roads and other multi infrastructures over building modern structures of worship but have forgotten that those givers and worshipers are people of faith. In their mind-set, they should not give to God crumbs and worship him in the shanty buildings and for anyone to suggest or subject them to doing so will be an infringement into their freedom of worship. What if they decide to invest their last penny to their Churches? That is their money, their faith and prerogative. All roads did not lead to economic and material things alone.

There is no doubt; economic stability is a driven engine that propels bread and butter into the global family tables. But Church plays the role of spiritual medication that heals the wounds of both past and present. It acts as glue that holds family together in a mutual and spiritual bondage. To diminish the role of Church in our society today is an indirect way of expelling God in our midst.

The significance of Church even goes beyond human imagination as Paul amplified in the holy book of Ephesians. Wives should submit to husbands while husbands should love wives as Christ loved the Church Ephesians 5:22-28.

Not withstanding the above stated case: many top decisions been made that uttered the way of our lives today were been made by people with strong Christian backgrounds and have made those decisions based on their religious convictions. Lincoln for example: his Emancipation proclamation that ends the Constitutional rights to own slaves and his zeal to use the Union Army to crush the Confederate troops during the civil war of 1860’s; a decisive move that put an end to slavery in United States was based on his religious conviction that “man’s inhumanity to man is evil”.

William Wilberforce: his conversion to evangelical Christianity in 1785 had uttered his political approach to a position of strict Christian morality. His eloquence and charming speech of 1789 in the British House of Commons gave way to the final abolition of slavery in Britain and West Indies.

Rev. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech in Washington D.C that hastened the Civil Rights movement in United States and eventually forced the Congress to pass the 1964 and 1965 Civil rights act that lifted the disenfranchisement against the Negroes.

In South Africa, we all observed the significant role played by the Anglican Bishop, Desmond Tutu to dismantle the apartheid regime in South Africa. I couldn’t tell how many trips he has made to United States and how many times he testified in the US Congress to slam sanction against the apartheid institution in South Africa.

Even President Kennedy would testify that he drew a conclusion from the scripture which condemned pride as a way of life during his confrontation with the then Soviet Leader, Chairman Khrushchev during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Had he not swallowed his pride says the President, his approach with Khrushchev could have been different and the out come could have triggered the nuclear World war three.

The role played by Church in our society is quite obvious and could be felt by even the blinds. The framers of constitution were not stupid when they separated Church and State and at the same time made the Church a tax free entity.

If very few of the spiritual leaders for their own selfish means decides to mishandle the money entrusted to them by their congregations or dupe them because they have no way of knowing, leave them alone, they will give the account of their stewardship down the road.

I am in no way defending the actions of few Churches and its functionaries who chooses go astray or protecting those who drive Rolls-Royce or SUVs to the Church and at the same time, am not going to advocate the financial swap of building banks and colossal investments over building Churches.

The question I have for Ejike is this: “are our beliefs, principles and ways of doing things strong enough to accommodate other people’s faith and way of life?”

I believe, “the faith in religion and construction of mega Churches is an art of will and personal commitment embedded in individual free will and such rights and privileges should not be trampled in any form or shape by those who felt repugnant about the movement, unless those rights has proven to have created enormous danger to the public at large.”

To diminish the role of Church and in our society and the blatant indictment of Church as the creator of human misery to me sounds more like a political demagoguery that lacked common sense and reasoning.

Re: Ejike Okpa on Blacks/Africans and building churches….

By Eunice Chukwudinma

August 03, 2009

“Monday through Friday, black folks and Africans are subjected to untold employment, business and economic torture. On Saturday, they may barbecue and on Sunday get out in their best attire to ask, sing and dance in the church, seeking temporary reprieve from the torture they endured the week before and about to embark again. There you have it, in the name of the Lord.”

God said in His word, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” In another place He said,  “My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

I have always wondered why God decided that His people the Jews should become herdsmen while the Pharoahs of Egypt lived in pomp and pageantry.  Why did He take His people to Egypt and allowed them to suffer untold hardships in the hands of the Egyptians for 430 years.  It is because we do not really understand the mind of God.  He said it is difficult for the rich to inherit eternal life.  Many slaves were shipped across the Atlantic.  They went through great sufferings.  Many of them learned about Jesus, received Him as their Lord and Saviour, and went to heaven.  Their affluent masters, died and went to eternal hell.  The slave masters used to have sleepless nights wondering why these slaves so awfully manhandled still could sing with joy in their voices after they have worked under the sun from dawn till dusk.

I must add my congratulations to the All Saints Anglican Church in Houston for taking time to beautify the place where they go not only to worship God but also to sing and dance and enjoy this life which is only for a time.  The greatest thing a man can have is fellowship and I believe the Church at Houston has just that.

The news is that God has chosen Nigerians to go to the uttermost parts of the earth to proclaim that He is God and that He so loves us that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  Heaven awaits the true believer but while here on earth see that you take time to fellowship and enjoy yourself.

I live in London and I noticed that the beer parlours are the places the average white man goes to seek his own reprieve from the tortures of life. Here depression is rampart. Nigerians have turned everywhere imaginable into church and they are doing well both in their jobs and their businesses.  They drive the best cars.  That is all for being in the house of God asking, singing and dancing instead of alone in the house or in the pub, drinking.

Most Nigerians in Nigeria live lives surrounded by miracles.  Why?  Because they go to church to ask, sing and dance in the church and come home and meet miracles which eludes the unbeliever.

What is this life if full of care?  Enjoy it while you can.  It is short.  Where is the best place to enjoy it but the house of God with joy in your heart and praises on your lips.

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Houston can’t wait for expanded light rail

Houston can’t wait for expanded light rail
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Houston can’t wait for expanded light rail

By Ken Kemnagum Okorie

Special to USAfricaonline.com, The Black Business Journal, BBJonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston

On Wednesday, March 4, 2009 Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority approved a $1.46 billion contract that will expand the light rail system by four more lines. Metro chairman David Wolff hailed the timing as “perfect” because of the expected 60,000 new jobs that will be created.  This development could not come soon enough for Houston.

Focusing on the job creation aspect of the contract, a Houston Chronicle copyright article on Friday described it as a rude reminder of just how important those jobs will be, especially with worsening unemployment. Under the economic hard time as has enveloped the American and global economies, the temptation to zoom narrowly and deeply into the immediate economic features of light rail may have appeal, even be popular.

Critics of Metro have been vocal in condemning its handling of the latest rail contract.   The airwaves are saturated with complaints that details of the light rail expansion were held back until the last minute.  Board voting was actually delayed one day in the face of intense criticism.  Some even hold the view that Houston has no business accepting funds from economic stimulus package that President Obama recently signed into law.

Light rail holds too significance to the Bayou City of the 21st century to be considered only so casually, disjointedly and often from partisan political prism.

What is important here is that the contract brings to active life an expansion of light rail in this city.  It is worth celebrating given that organized partisan opposition to light rail has been the Achilles heel of mass transit in Houston.

In 2002 The Washington Post dismissed Houston’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, saying that the city lacks the international appeal that would enable it to compete favorably on behalf of the United States.  While that may have seemed like a harsh indictment that offended many, the characterization had serious merit.  I offered a response in an article in this paper which focused on the reality that a dominant small town mentality still robs our the Fourth largest city in the US, of any chance of being taken seriously as a either Big, modern or sophisticated.  An entrenched wildcatter mindset and sub-culture is so entrenched that it abhors and obstructs any attempt to take this city out of the 1900s.  Consequently, Houston has kept lagging further and further behind as a serious modern metropolis, hardly favored as stop for entertainment, the arts, business, culture by tourists.  The list of destinations systematically promoted by the travel and tourism industry tells the full story.

If my words sound harsh, they are precisely so intended.  Last Fall I returned to Denver the first time after 22 years of law school in Mile High City.  I was awed by the transformation of a rejuvenated downtown climaxed by the sophistry of an eatery, entertainment and shopping district to which remote corners of the city are now linked by rail transit.  As volunteer observer in Cleveland, Ohio during last November elections, I experienced the convenience of rail connection between a city periphery airport and the distant ends of the town in record time.  Denver and Cleveland are just examples.  Following is a list of American cities, big and small, which had some form of rail transit (commuter rail, rapid transit, light rail, streetcar, subway, trolley, monorail, tramway, tube, underground, etc.) as of January 2007: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo Camden, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver Galveston, Harrisburg, Hoboken, Houston, Kenosha, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, Newark, New Orleans, New York City, Oceanside, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, St. Louis, Syracuse, Tacoma, Tampa, Washington D.C.

Houston reluctantly and tokenly joined the list in 2004 with a 7-mile stretch from Downtown to the Astrodome via the Medical Center.  It was literally an imposition on city leaders by former Mayor Lee P. Brown.

The positive impact on residents’ quality of life and impression left on visitors by effective rail transit cannot be understated.  At the international level, rail transit is one of the features that differentiate countries that have broken loose from underdevelopment from those still shackled by it. (visit http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/rail-transit-list.html). Modern civilization does not take seriously municipal centers that are so self-centered they refuse to see where the rest of the world is going.

A sophisticated ear on Houston’s morning drive on radio is seriously surprised by a feature howling reminificent of wild hogs and must wonder what corner of the rural back range these were released from!   The lead news on

Every Houston TV station features incident from the local crime beat as daily lead news item.  Next to that is a preoccupation with some mundane local gossip totally lacking in anything of import or consequence to our world. Despite being the hub of the global oil and gas industry and having a glamorized landscape, Houston remains the classic small town where the embedded rich use their economic and political influence to keep off any attempt to awaken the city much less bring it into vogue.  The world is awash with examples of small metropolises that have outstripped our big elephant in attraction and consequence Houston.

Anyone reading this and thinking that I am out to mock or belittle Houston has it all wrong.  I have called Houston home since 1982 and have no plan to change.  That’s was the reason I carried my Texas license tag on my car throughout 3 years of law school, and left the day following my graduation.  To the contrary, I feel particular personal stake to Houston as my home it is my concern how the world perceive us.

The point is that Houston is simply not making the best of its unique opportunities and attributes.  Yes, we have Johnson Space Center, The Medical Center that ranks best in the world, and, yes, we also have the Astrodome.  And speaking of the Astrodome, you notice that our City and County seem uncertain or unconvinced what to do with this unique international landmark!  Most cities and nations have done intensely more with far less remarkable structures.  Visit the Baltimore Inner Harbor, the Denver Downtown Mall and similar places where municipalities have invested intensely to create truly exciting and successful tourism attractors.  The Astrodome is ideal for a well designed and outfitted hotel, shopping and entertainment complex that would compares very favorable with some of the globally known ultramodern centers.  Our concern about the cost to cool and maintain it cannot ignore the fact that no construction that has tried to imitate it has turned out as grand.  The Taj Mahal was built between 1631 and 1653, but India finds its maintenance a national treasure a priority.

Having called Houston home for 20 years, I too was disappointed at the less than enviable assessment of Houston by The Washington Post.  But as someone who has also traveled the world, I cannot deny that the assessment has merit.  Which is not to say that Houston cannot host the Olympics, but that we present an appearance that inhibits any capacity we may have.

My point is that Houston has quibbled and fought too long over having rail transit.  The contract signed this week should put an end to that crippling argument and let the rails start rolling.  Houston will be a better city for it. For that matter, it is my opinion that Houston has no choice if it must transit from the inconsequential big oil town to the sophisticated, endearing major urban player in the 21st century  
Okorie, an attorney and director of The Small Business Legal Clinic, is a member of the editorial board of USAfrica The Newspaper and USAfricaonline.com. Responses are welcome and will be published. He also wrote exclusively for USAfrica: Is Obasanjo endangering Nigeria’s democracy? and the Saga in Anambra, Obasanjo and Nigeria’s federalism

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AIG bonus and congressional posturing

AIG bonus and congressional posturing
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AIG bonus and congressional posturing

By Ken Kemnagum Okorie

Special to USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston

Few events in recent times have showcased Washington DC in its true political color as did the AIG bonus debacle of March-April 2009. Washington is truly a circus of posturing where  actors overindulge in childish gotcha. Seemingly, the singular motivation is to impress constituents as the good guy watching out for Main Street. But is that really true?

us-congress.jpg

On March 19, 2009, the House of Representatives hurriedly passed a bill that will use punitive 90% taxation to recover much of the $165 million bonus from AIG executives.  The Senate is positioning for its scene in this laughable comedy later this week or next.

To my mind, every lawmaker who votes for this bill should either resign or be impeached for gross negligence and reckless disregard and violation of the US Constitution they are sworn to support and defend.

Article 1 Section. 9 Clause 3 of the Constitution says: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed. Bill of Attainder is law that targets a particular person or group.  Ex Post Facto Law is law that either punishes someone for an act that was not illegal when it was committed or imposes more severe punishment than existed at the time the offense was committed. Except for public outrage under prevailing economic crunch, today’s face-saving scampering in Congress falls flat on both scores.

A recipient of the AIG bonus should be able to get the nearest JP court to declare this law unconstitutional, not to talk of the Supreme Court. So far President Obama has shown the better judgment over the AIG bonus than the political hyenas at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.  I hope he uses his veto to stop this madness of a bill from becoming law.

The real question is: Why were legislators not as agitated when AIG first came calling last Fall, when Obama was yet fighting for his political life against onslaught from within and without his party?  Was the Democratic majority too naïve to realize what was amiss?  Were Republicans too blind seeing no wrong in George W. Bush to care? Did politicians of both parties deem Americans too lacking in substance to understand?

Washington does not need another legislation to deal with the AIG bonus.  They needed only to look at existing law, especially contract law for viable answers. As representatives of the taxpayers controlling overwhelming interest in AIG, the government could use the instrumentality of corporate decision-making, as routinely exercised in boardrooms and shareholder meetings.  Obviously such approach would not be sufficiently sexy or expedient.

In the midst of the worst economic slump of our time, legislature that expends so much effort over $165 million when we have invested hundreds of billions in bailouts is not my model of being either serious or responsible. Okorie, an attorney, is a member of the editorial board of USAfrica The Newspaper and USAfricaonline.com. Responses are welcome and will be published. He also wrote exclusively for USAfrica: Is Obasanjo endangering Nigeria’s democracy? and the Saga in Anambra, Obasanjo and Nigeria’s federalism

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Nigeria set to be world’s 2nd Largest Supplier of Liquefied Natural Gas

Nigeria set to be world’s 2nd Largest Supplier of Liquefied Natural Gas
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Nigeria set to be world’s 2nd Largest Supplier of Liquefied Natural Gas
By Udenna Orji
Nigeria, rich with an estimated 186 trillion standard cubic feet (tscf) of gas, and rising investments in gas production is well on its way to becoming the world’s second largest liquefied natural gas supplier, after Qatar.
The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) project has also expanded to six trains since the first train came into operation in 1999, while the seventh train is awaiting Final Investment Decision (FID). Other projects like Brass, Olokola and other third party LNG projects are also awaiting FID.
The Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum Matters, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah, who made these known said “Nigerian LNG has a total installed capacity of 22 million metric tones of LNG per annum. In addition to the Nigerian LNG, other LNG projects such as the Brass, Olokola and other third party LNG plants are awaiting final investment decision, which is dependent on resolution of gas supply issues. The Brass and OKLNG facilities when completed, will add more than over 30 million metric tones of additional LNG capacity for export.”
Egbogah, who was speaking on “Nigerian Gas in the New Economic Landscape,” revealed that “Nigeria is, therefore on track to becoming the world’s second fastest growing LNG supplier in the world, next to Qatar”.
He said on a regional front, Nigeria was well positioned and ready to supply gas to the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) Project, which was conceived with the objective of delivering Nigerian gas to the West African sub-region when it fully begins operation soon. The over 550 kilometre-pipeline is now ready to deliver gas to Ghana, Togo, and Benin.
“At full capacity, the pipeline will deliver up to 470 million standard cubic feet per day. Initial demand is about 200 million cubic feet per day. However, there is already a signal of growing demand in the region in order of about 600 million cubic feet per day. The pipeline could be extended beyond Ghana to Cote D’Ivoire and beyond as soon as market opportunities develop” Dr. Egbogah said
According to him, in addition to the WAGP, a 4,400 kilometre Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline Project, which was proposed to take gas through North Africa, the Mediterranean Sea and then to Europe is also envisioned with a potential for two billion cubic feet per day.
He stated that “the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline, which originates from Calabar to Ajaokuta, Kano and through North Africa to Europe is particularly a very strategic project for Nigeria.

Apart from providing a viable alternative source of gas supply to Europe besides the supply from the Russian Federation, it provides an opportunity for the diversification of the export route for marketing Nigeria’s natural gas resources besides LNG export, and for the integration of the economies of the sub region in line with the objectives of NEPAD and African Union”, adding that “the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline project and the other projects to supply regional markets therefore have the potential to confirm Nigeria’s position and economic leadership in Africa and at the same time earn us more respect in the comity of nations.”

Egbogah noted that the Nigerian domestic gas market was “today witnessing one of the most significant transformations from a very low level of utilization of about 500 million cubic feet per day a few years back in 2000; the domestic market is expected to see an unprecedented growth in utilization”  Abuja, Sep 28, 2009 (Leadership).

—-

Obama’s Africa agenda, our business and democracy

By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal

www.usafricaonline.com/chido.obamaafrica09.html

www.USAfricaonline.com/chido-obamaafrica09/

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2010 World Cup qualifying’s top players; Ronaldo missing

2010 World Cup qualifying’s top players; Ronaldo missing
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SOCCER: 2010 World Cup qualifying’s top players; Ronaldo missing

The qualifying stages for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa are drawing to a close. Eleven national teams have already punched their tickets to the tournament next year, including the host country, and dozens more are still scrambling for the remaining 21 spots.

Though soccer is very much a team sport, the difference between qualifying or staying home for another four years often comes down to the play of an individual. One or two players can get hot and carry their team to the biggest tournament in all of sports.

Some players who’ve done just that are undoubtedly familiar. Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney have had remarkable runs in the qualifying stages for the English side. The latter, in particular, might be the single most valuable player thus far. David Villa, though he’s played fewer minutes than Rooney, has been a key to Spain’s success. Goalkeeper Julio Cesar has been the stopper that perfectly complements the well-rounded Brazilian team.

But there are some surprises as well. Current FIFA World Player of the Year, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, is not on the list, and Portugal is in grave danger of missing the World Cup. Across the Atlantic, Lionel Messi of Argentina, considered by many to be the best soccer player in the world, also has missed the list, as his side has slipped from contention.

Behind the numbers

To create our list of the best 11 players – one for each position – of World Cup qualifying play so far, the player had to be an integral part of his team’s push for the tournament in South Africa. For goalkeepers and defenders, we looked at total minutes played, goals scored against and the teams’ results. For midfielders, we added in a metric for the players’ goals scored. And for the forwards, we dropped the “scored against” metric. Ultimately, what we sought for each position was the player who made a difference when he was on the field for important matches. Using the balanced 4-4-2 formation, we found a starting side that fit the bill.

Some of the names that made the list are perhaps even more surprising than those that didn’t. Two players from the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), considered by many to be an international lightweight, have made the list. Defender Carlos Bocanegra has been a stalwart for the U.S. National Team. Despite several goals allowed, Bocanegra has been on the field for 10 U.S. wins.

And the 21-year-old Costa Rican midfielder Celso Borges has demonstrated many moments of brilliance in leading his home side to the precipice of a World Cup birth. The team has won 11 of 15 matches with Borges on the field. He’s scored five goals.

But not everyone agrees with our list. When we showed our picks to ESPN soccer analyst and former U.S. National Team member Alexi Lalas, he said, “I love subjective ‘best-of’ lists, but this one stretches it a little bit too far. Each region has hundreds of players and each team faces different and unique qualifying challenges.”

Fair enough. But some of these players’ performances in World Cup qualifying matches has elevated their status. Manchester United academy director Brian McClair says Rooney’s recent play has pushed him into the top five players in the world. And Brazilian coach Dunga and Italian goalkeeping stalwart Gianluigi Buffon now both proclaim Brazil’s Cesar as the best goalkeeper in the world.

Also, it’s no coincidence that all of the players on this list are on successful squads. Cesar’s Brazil, Lampard’s and Rooney’s England, Villa’s and Joan Capdevila’s Spain and Andre Ooijer’s and Joris Mathijsen’s Dutch teams have all already qualified for South Africa. Bocanegra’s U.S. side is currently in first place in the CONCACAF region. Bastian Schweinsteiger’s German team is atop Group Four in Europe, followed closely by Konstantin Zyryanov’s Russian side.

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District 9 movie draws anger of Nigerians; caricatures Obasanjo…

District 9 movie draws anger of Nigerians; caricatures Obasanjo…
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A scene from Sony's District 9 which loads on Nigeria's image as a corruption zone. USAfricaonline.com

A scene from Sony's District 9 which loads on Nigeria's image as a corruption zone. USAfricaonline.com

District 9 movie draws anger of Nigerians; caricatures Obasanjo…

Sci-fi movie, Sony ad prompt Nigerian image angst
By Reuters/Camillus Eboh. Wed Sep 23, 2009
ABUJA (Reuters) – A blockbuster sci-fi movie which caricatures Nigerians as gangsters and cannibals and a Sony PlayStation advert which implies they are fraudsters have infuriated a government battling to improve the country’s image.

South African film “District 9,” which has topped the UK box office for two straight weeks and ranked in the top 10 in North America, is an allegory on segregation and xenophobia, with alien life forms cooped up in a township set in Johannesburg.

None of the groups shown comes out particularly well, but the Nigerians are portrayed as gangsters, cannibals, pimps and prostitutes, while their leader’s name is pronounced Obasanjo — the same as that of Nigeria’s former president.

Nigeria has banned cinemas from showing it.

“It is a Hollywood film, shot in South Africa and acted mainly by South Africans. We protested because it showed Nigeria in a very bad light,” Information Minister Dora Akunyili, who is spearheading a “rebranding Nigeria” campaign, told Reuters.

“There is no country that does not have prostitutes and criminals but definitely most countries don’t have cannibals, and we don’t have cannibals in this country. We don’t eat human flesh, it is definitely unacceptable,” she said.

Akunyili said the government had told the Nigerian Film and Video Censor Board to ensure “District 9″ was no longer shown in movie theatres and to confiscate copies. It had also written to the producers telling them to edit out references to Nigeria.

“GOOD PEOPLE, GREAT NATION”

“We do not encourage censorship or government forcibly prescribing actions that infringe upon a consumer’s right to choose,” said Roy Murray Bruce, president of Silverbird Group, which owns one of the country’s main cinema chains.

“However in this instance, Silverbird is fully behind the censorship board’s ban on the movie because of its demeaning, crass and offensive misrepresentation of Nigeria and Nigerians.”

The controversy comes as Africa’s most populous nation seeks to shrug off its image as an epicenter of corruption, epitomized by “419” email fraudsters named after the article in Nigeria’s penal code that deals with advance fee fraud.

In March, the government launched a rebranding campaign with the slogan: “Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation.”

Even Nigeria’s banking sector is being forced to clean up its act. The central bank last month removed the heads of five banks as part of a $2.6 billion bailout, before anti-corruption police brought charges against them including recklessly granting loans without due authorization.

“District 9″ has not been the only headache for Akunyili’s rebranding campaign.

Sonyhad to edit an advert for its PlayStation 3 gaming console in which a customer asks the price, and was originally told: “You can’t believe everything you read on the internet, otherwise I’d be a Nigerian millionaire by now.”

“Why didn’t Sony, for instance, use Japan? Japanese being criminals. Don’t they have criminals in Japan,” Akunyili said.

“In District 9, why didn’t Hollywood use the criminals in New York? How many shootings do we have in a day in New York? Why didn’t they use the name of their president or their former president? There is no way anybody can defend what they did.” She said Sony had apologized.
(Additional reporting by Hannington Osodo; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Randy Fabi)

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‘Al-Qaeda threat’ closed US embassy in South Africa

‘Al-Qaeda threat’ closed US embassy in South Africa
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JOHANNESBURG — An Al-Qaeda splinter group threatened to attack the US embassy in Pretoria, prompting the United States to close its diplomatic posts in South Africa, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The group phoned the embassy on Monday and threatened to attack US government buildings in South Africa, including the embassy and aid offices, The Star newspaper said, citing “well-placed security sources”.

The report did not identify the group, but said the threat was apparently prompted by the killing of a top regional Al-Qaeda leader in Somalia during a lightning US military operation last week.

Somalia’s hardline Shebab Islamist group has vowed to avenge the killing of Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Kenyan citizen wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation over anti-Israeli attacks in Mombasa in 2002.

Embassy spokesman Sharon Hudson-Dean declined to comment on the report.

The embassy, consulates in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, as well as aid and development offices, have been closed since Tuesday after the State Department said a “credible” threat had been received. US government offices are to reopen on Friday.

South Africa itself is not seen as a target for terrorist attacks, but the incident has heightened security concerns in the country ahead of the 2010 football World Cup.

The South African government on Wednesday moved to assure foreign citizens of their safety, and said security forces were in constant touch with US officials.

South Africa’s national police chief said Tuesday the situation was “under control.” AFP/September 24, 2009

EXCLUSIVE USAfrica INSIGHT:

Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability. By Chido Nwangwu



What has Africa to do with September 11 terror?


September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come....

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Why Nigerian and Africa’s leaders are leading them nowhere

Why Nigerian and Africa’s leaders are leading them nowhere
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Why Nigerian and Africa’s leaders are leading them nowhere

By Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

Special to USAfricaonline.com, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
The Black Business Journal

In the past 20 years, Africa has consistently been a net-exporter of capital to the West, a trend that has been accentuated by the debilitating consequences of Africa’s servicing of its so-called “debt” to the West. In 1981, Africa recorded a net capital export of US$5.3 billion to the West. In 1985, this transfer jumped to US$21.5 billion and three years later it was US$36 billion or US$100 million per day. In 2000, Africa’s net capital transfer to the coffers of the West stood at US$150 billion…. In an interview recently with the Financial Times (London), Nigeria’s leader retired Gen. Obasanjo (in picture during another foreign trip) could not but admit: “In three years I went round the world and did not get anything… I went round the countries in Europe, twice over, I went to Japan, to America, to Canada and got good words… but no action at all.” Yet, if Obasanjo continues his current rate of travel overseas in the remaining 12 months of his presidency, he will make a further 30 trips with the whooping cost of US$6 million to Nigeria’s forlorn economy. These visits should now be cancelled and the savings invested in the collapsing primary schools of the country to enable millions of Nigerian children have a better future than is presently the case. Those who advise Obasanjo should for once show responsibility. So, by May 2003, the Obasanjo regime would have spent US$22 million of scarce national resources on four years of travel in pursuit of an illusory but calamitous enterprise of “gazing across the seas” for Western “goodies” to salvage an economy that his leadership (twice: 1976-1979, 1999-expected May 2003) as well as others have virtually destroyed in the past 40 years. The gross insensitivity of the lifestyle that encapsulates these junkets at a time when the overwhelming majority of Nigerians have been reduced to dire straits of existence is particularly obscene. Also, the proceedings and outcome of the Kananaskis G8 June 2002 conference and all the formulations about NEPAD sum up the West’s contempt for the African leaders, including Obasanjo, who left with nothing concrete to show from their hosts except promises of a modest increase in the overall Western “aid budget” to Africa….

Chinua Achebe once described as the “cargo cult mentality” the illusion, or rather the delusion of many leaders of so-called “developing countries” who feel that without sustained hard work, internally, their states could somehow achieve the status of socio-political transformation that they had envisaged in many a “development programme.”

This mentality manifests in the form of a perpetual gaze across the seas, across the horizon, hoping/awaiting a “fairy ship [to] dock in their harbour laden with every goody they have always dreamed of possessing.” This gaze, as can be imagined, is frustratingly a chore that triggers bewildering ranges of emotion: When, for instance, is this ship arriving?

Where is it coming from? What will it contain that will transform our existence? More loans? More aid packages? A privatisation scheme? Oh! Is that the mast of the mysterious ship coming over the horizon – at last? Oh yeah!

The ship is already here… Good news: the goodies are here, fellow countrymen [and women, presumably!] We are now developed, we are a world power… No, not yet… We need the arrival of 3, 4, or 5 more of these ships to achieve this target. Oh dear! How long will this now take? The time span for all these arrivals will be in the order of 10 years… No, twice as long; sorry, to be more precise, 21 years… Therefore, my administration needs another term, maybe two, perhaps three, to oversee these arrivals, the offloading of the goodies, and the sustainable implementation of this multi-sectoral development programme.

To focus more specifically on the Africa example, the “cargo cult mentality” was pointedly a perverse case right from the outset. African leaderships in the late 1950s/1960s (baseline decades for the restoration of African independence after centuries of the European conquest and occupation) uncritically keyed into the Fraudulent Developmentalism music of the age which was trumpeted noisily and widely by the Western World – led strategically by none other than Britain and France, the core conqueror states of Africa.

Thanks to the nauseating naivety of these leaderships, Britain, France and other European World states and institutions that had committed heinous crimes of conquest and occupation in Africa for 500 years, were overnight entrusted with a role, the central role for that matter, to embark upon Africa’s seeming project of societal reconstruction in the wake of the holocaust.

South Korea, for instance, has demonstrated that if the country’s leaderships in the late 1940s/1950s (after the country’s liberation from Japanese conquest and occupation) had “allowed” Japan to play a similar role in their reconstruction project as the African example just cited, their society would not have been endowed with the scientific know-how in the very short 50 years time lag to co-stage the recent World Cup Football competition with Japan and with such comparable dazzling technological finesse as the latter.

In Nigeria, in 1979, no one in the country was prepared for the extraordinary pronouncement of optimism on the country’s future from the government of the day. There was no semblance of any reconstructionary programme on the ground to support this claim. General Olusegun Obasanjo, then head of the country’s military junta, had, in effect, gazed across the hallucinatory horizon of expectation embedded in the “cargo cult mentality” and made the following prediction with all the certitude at his disposal:

Nigeria will become one of the ten leading nations in the world by the end of the century.

Of course 20 years later, Nigeria was anything but a world power. This outcome was not because the country lacked a resourceful population nor because it was deprived of an “enabling” natural resource infrastructure to accomplish such a task.

On the contrary, many countries in history with a fraction of Nigeria’s staggering human and natural resource capacity as at 1979, not to mention 1999, have achieved major societal development in very limited time frames. Presently, Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan are three examples that illustrate, acutely, this point. On material resources, for instance, Nigeria, the world’s sixth largest petroleum oil producer, had by 1999 earned the sum of US$300 billion from this product after 40 years of exploitation and exports. Unfortunately, this revenue had by and large been squandered by the country’s leaderships of the epoch through its legendary institutionalised corruption and profilgacy.

They literally lurched ravenously into the public purse in frenzy. Between 1972 (when General Yakubu Gowon was in power) and 1999 (end of the tenure of the General Abdulsalami Abubakar junta/beginning of the current Obasanjo regime), one fifth of this sum, or US$60 billion, was looted personally by these furacious leaderships and transferred to Western banks and other financial institutions.

Elsewhere in the economy, this was the infamous epoch of dubious contractual deals and dealing that yielded enormously-inflated financial returns for thieving public functionaries: the importation of everything from cement, sand, nails and rice to air, champagne and lace, and the staging of innumerable feasts and festivals usually dreamt up in a whiff.

At some point in 1983, at the apogee of this scramble of an economy, Nigeria’s entire external currency reserves were reduced precariously to US$1 billion. Inevitably, this scramble has churned out the directory of the nouveau riche of millionaires and even billionaires whose names and gory legacy make up the haunting epitaph of a failed state. It is in this context that Edwin Madunagu’s description of this shenanigan as the “political economy of state robbery” could not have been more evocative.

It does not require emphasising that with the judicious use of the gargantuan sum of US$300 billion (which no comparable independent African country has earned since the beginning of the European conquest and occupation of the continent in the 15th century), not only Nigeria but also the entire African World would have been radically transformed beyond recognition.

No one would dare equate “disaster, degradation and desperation” with contemporary African existence as it’s often the norm in any standard discourse.

On this very “squandering of [the people’s] riches,” as the artiste Onyeka Onwenu would put it, that is: ignoring the other striking features of the kleptomania and maledictive incompetence of successive Nigerian leaderships of the era, all those who describe themselves or have been so described as Nigeria’s heads of state particularly in recent decades must be eternally ashamed of themselves.

They, as well as those intellectuals who surrounded them as aides and advisers, do constitute the most vivid tragedy of Africa”s recent history. They have frittered away the treasured grove of several generations of a people.

Furthermore, they were and remain a monumental disappointment to the millions of Africans elsewhere in the world whose optimism for Nigeria”s unprecedented possibilities during the era was expressively inspirational.

In effect, Nigeria’s leaderships appeared to have ignored the salient feature of the development ethos, any development ethos, that the engine of such an enterprise is anchored internally – right there in the very locale of the projected activity. Or did they? The “perpetual gaze across the seas” for socio-economic salvation serves these leaderships. It absolves them of their execution of their mandated responsibility to their long-suffering compatriots.

In the last three years of his 4-year presidency, retired General Olusegun Obasanjo has been out of Nigeria at least 80 times on official trips. He has visited virtually every key country in Europe, Asia, North America, South America/the Caribbean and, of course, Africa during the period.

As for his European and North American and Asian destinations, he has been to Britain, France, Italy, Germany, the United States and Japan more than twice. The average time duration for a trip is three days and the average number of aides and other officials is 30 except in the North American and European destinations when this figure is often double and at times triple and on some occasions even more.

With 80 overseas trips during 1999-2002, Obasanjo makes a foreign trip approximately every fortnight. The president himself and other regime spokespersons have repeatedly indicated that these junkets are important for Nigeria to “attract foreign investment and help seek some relief or cancellation of Nigeria”s foreign debt of $28 billion.”

Each of these visits costs Nigeria at least US$200,000 on the average and this sum shoots up with the larger entourage that compliments the North America/Europe and Japan ventures. In total, Nigeria has spent minimally the sum of US$16 million on these trips without any concrete returns especially on the subject of investment or relief on Nigeria’s so-called “debt” to the West. Indeed on the latter, Obasanjo stated openly during the March 2002 conference on development in Mexico that Nigeria had failed to secure “a single cent of debt relief… In the past three years, Nigeria has had to spend five billion dollars in servicing its foreign debts, even though the same debts had been repaid two times over.”

According to Jerry Gana, the country’s information minister, Nigeria’s annual “debt service of about $1.5 billion is nine times our budget for health, and three times our budget for education.” But it is Nigeria’s failure to attract meaningful foreign investment (a miserly US$2.25 billion in the next four years, according to projected estimates by the London Economist Intelligence Unit) during the period and the direct link of this failure to Obasanjo’s junkets which is most heart-rending. In an interview recently with the Financial Times (London), retired Gen. Obasanjo could not but admit: “In three years I went round the world and did not get anything… I went round the countries in Europe, twice over, I went to Japan, to America, to Canada and got good words… but no action at all.”

Yet, if Obasanjo continues his current rate of travel overseas in the remaining 12 months of his presidency, he will make a further 30 trips with the whooping cost of US$6 million to Nigeria’s forlorn economy. These visits should now be cancelled and the savings invested in the collapsing primary schools of the country to enable millions of Nigerian children have a better future than is presently the case. Those who advise Obasanjo should for once show responsibility.

So, by May 2003, the Obasanjo regime would have spent US$22 million of scarce national resources on four years of travel in pursuit of an illusory but calamitous enterprise of “gazing across the seas” for Western “goodies” to salvage an economy that his leadership (twice: 1976-1979, 1999-expected May 2003) as well as others have virtually destroyed in the past 40 years. The gross insensitivity of the lifestyle that encapsulates these junkets at a time when the overwhelming majority of Nigerians have been reduced to dire straits of existence is particularly obscene.

Current key social statistics on Nigeria are disastrous. Seventy per cent of the population of 120 million live below the poverty line and 40 per cent or 48 million of these “wallow in abject poverty,” to quote the very words of Obasanjo himself in 2000. Even though the monthly minimum wage is a paltry US$75, many public and private enterprises have routinely not paid their workers their salaries. Millions are therefore owed several months of unpaid wages and several sectors of the economy are more often than not strike bound.

Two months ago, a group of Nigerian professionals known as “Concerned Professionals” questioned the government”s claims to have spent US$100 million on “poverty alleviation” and US$500 million on the improvement of electricity supplies in the past fiscal year.

On the former, the organisation rightly observes that no “dent in the poverty profile across the land” has occurred, despite the huge sums the regime supposedly spent, nor has there been a change in the notorious national electricity power supply.

Very worryingly, the professionals conclude, 70 per cent of the government”s budget allocation goes to recurrent expenditure and the implication of this for the rest of the economy is predictably troubling: “the cost of running government therefore crowds out the rest of the economy even before the budget is implemented.”

Equally concerned, the Nigerian senate public accounts committee has since published a critical report on government spending. It criticises the large size of the recurrent expenditure and the government”s concomitant “under-funding of capital provisions.” It also finds serious discrepancies in the accounting of sequestrated funds from the overseas bank accounts of General Abacha (a former head of state) which had been returned to the Nigerian treasury. The report was so compelling that moves were made in the senate to begin impeachment proceedings on Obasanjo last month. These floundered due to sustained pressure on key senators by the president.

It is evident that following the failure of Obasanjo’s frantic and expensive overseas tours in the last three years to secure both the ever illusory “dividend” of international investment and “debt” relief for Nigeria, the president has now broadened the parameters of the observation post from where to continue his existentialist “gaze across the seas” for the goodies to supposedly transform Nigeria. In other words, Obasanjo has contintalised the quest for the illusion and the name given to it couldn”t even mask its plasticity: NEPAD, or New Partnership for Africa”s Development. Just as Nigerians know unmistakably that NEPA, an acronym which in fact shares the same root origins as NEPAD, means Never Expect Power Always rather than any worthy electricity power authority, we”ll now show that NEPAD really means Never Expect Progress And Development.

Obasanjo and other African leaders have promoted NEPAD as a neo-Marshall Plan reconstruction programme for Africa. It envisages the “eradication” of poverty, sustained economic growth, and development. Good governance is promised with qualitatively transformed leaderships” accountability and transparency towards both the population (with regards the respect of their human rights) and the management of natural resources, especially the critical revenues derived thereof. But, crucially, the fulcrum of NEPAD”s own sustainability hinges on Africa’s declared partnership with the leadership of the Western World.

This partnership, a term we should stress emanates from the African side of the bargain, operates or is actuated in the format of a quid pro quo: African leaders embark on providing good governance and the like to their people and the West would, in return, invest in Africa. The amount of investment the leaders claim they require is US$64 billion per annum.

This will take the form of substantial “debt” relief package for the continent where most countries spend about 70 per cent of total annual export revenues in “debt”-servicing obligations currently. Africa is also asking the West to cut vast agricultural subsidies that the latter pays its farmers. These limit fair competition to the detriment of African farmers who in the past 10 years have lost virtually all subsidies, thanks to the eagerness of their states to implement IMF-World Bank directives of “structural adjustment programmes.”

Finally, African leaders want the West to cut the high duties that African manufacturing exports are subjected to in the former’s markets.

If there is any of the unrelentingly statistical surveys churned out on contemporary Africa by many a study, the latest from the World Bank captures the severity of the African situation and its projected “hopelessness.”

According to the bank, about half of Africa”s population of 645 million presently live on the “equivalent of $1 a day or less.” More seriously, the bank forecasts that the number of people within this poverty bracket will increase by about 60 million in the next 15 years. For its African proponents, NEPAD assumes that the Western World is particularly concerned by the ever-worsening condition of African socio-economic life.

For the West, on the contrary, Nigeria, just like the rest of Africa, “works” – in the sense that the humanity of this country and continent has not ceased to create wealth for the West in spite of the obvious deterioration of local social existence. The European World, it must never be forgotten, created and sustains the tragedy that is present-day Africa. The principal beneficiary of this tragedy both in material and philosophical terms remains the West. Africa has yet to recover from the West”s half a millennium-long brazen conquest and occupation of Africa. The West”s perpetration of the African holocaust during the period (the most dehumanising and extensive in history) and its seizure and transfer to its homeland of Africa”s immense wealth, ensured that it catapulted to an unassailable global power where it has since remained. Despite the so-called restoration of African independence, the West”s exploitation of Africa has worsened, thanks to the lobotomised creatures that parade as African leaderships.

In the past 20 years, Africa has consistently been a net-exporter of capital to the West, a trend that has been accentuated by the debilitating consequences of Africa”s servicing of its so-called “debt” to the West. In 1981, Africa recorded a net capital export of US$5.3 billion to the West. In 1985, this transfer jumped to US$21.5 billion and three years later it was US$36 billion or US$100 million per day.

In 2000, Africa’s net capital transfer to the coffers of the West stood at US$150 billion. (We should stress that these figures refer to 47 African countries including Nigeria and do not include the national accounting of the Arab states of North Africa – Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt). It has taken 10 generations of Western governments to accomplish their control and exploitation of Africa, and no future government there would voluntarily abandon such a lucrative harvest of conquest. The West will always wish to exploit Africa. It does not have any other choice, except, of course, it is stopped. For a typical Western government therefore, including the present one whose majority of members were ironically born on the eve of the African restoration of independence 50 years ago, the West’s continuing control of African resources does not cease to be an ontological preoccupation.

In emphasising that NEPAD is a partnership between Africa and the West, the African leaderships have essentially tried to re-enact the Fraudulent Developmentalism of the 1950s/1960s. But everyone knows, including the West particularly, that the African version is a desperate one indeed. If Fraudulent Developmentalism I is a tragedy, Fraudulent Developmentalism II, its sequel, is more of a travesty than a farce in the sense of the marxian negation.

None of the Western leaders who met Obasanjo and the other African leaders during the June 2002 G-8 summitry in Kananaskis, Canada, really think or feel that the latter are their partners in the sense of the mutual pursuit of a commonly agreed cause and outcome by two or more parties.

Western leaders, who strive and age overnight in office as the continuing responsibility and accountability to their electorate and population take their toll, are contemptuous of African leaderships who always appear rejuvenated, as if they have walked out of cosmetic surgery every Friday lunch time.

Western leaders therefore lecture these Africans anywhere and anytime: “Respect the Human Rights of your people”; “Stop killing your people – you have slaughtered 12 million from Biafra to Rwanda since you took over power from us in 1960″; “You are corrupt, very corrupt! You steal your people”s money – Stop it! You must be transparent and Accountable!”; “Institute a bill of rights, Respect the rule of law”; “Run free and fair elections! Don”t turn your presidency into a life-long estate as we really don”t want you to deal with our own next generation of leaders”…

There is of course nothing in these apparent pro-African sentiments to suggest that Western leaders really look forward to the day when they will deal with a democratic Africa where its leaderships are accountable to their publics. If that were to occur, the West would cease to exercise the stranglehold it currently has on the continent. No responsive leadership will play the overseer role which these leaderships engage in.

What the West has obviously done (as expressed above) is to appropriate the popular language of disgust against African leaders across Africa. Even the innocence of African children has not been spared the disastrous blunders and disgrace that African leaderships have now come to represent to the eagle-eyed scrutiny of a global audience. Two months ago during the UN children”s summit in New York, Joseph Tamale, a 12 year old Ugandan delegate stunned the audience when he made the following declaration on African leaderships: “When you get the money, you embezzle it, you eat it.”

The proceedings and outcome of the Kananaskis conference sum up this contempt. The African leaders emerged from the proceedings with nothing concrete to show from their hosts except promises of a modest increase in the overall Western “aid budget” to Africa which had been mooted earlier on in the year during the Mexico conference on development.

The African leaderships present then had been noticeably unimpressed by the total sum of US$6 billion involved which wouldn”t even be available till 2006. The West once again tabled this dubious package at Kananakis but this time round none of the African leaderships in attendance dared show their disenchantment. It was left to Phil Twyford, a director of OXFAM (the British non-governmental organisation), to bellow with anger: “We”re extremely disappointed… They”re offering peanuts to Africa – and recycled peanuts at that.” There was no mention at all in the summit communique on the vexed subjects of investment, “debt” cancellation or the opening up of Western markets to African exports.

On the latter, both the United States and Canada had announced substantial increases in subsidies to their farmers on the eve of the summit, dashing any hopes of any concerted accommodation to African demands for access to these important Western markets. For Messrs Obasanjo & Co, the humiliation at Kananakis meant a return the observation post and the resumption of the gaze until the next ripples of movement across the waves… Never Expect Progress And Development, after all, has been what NEPAD has been all the while since its inception…

In 1987, I held a wide-ranging weekend interview in London with Abdulrahman Mohammed Babu, the late Zanzibari revolutionary and pan-African intellectual. On Africa-European World relations, I had asked Babu what he thought was the essence of the West”s thinking on Africa at the height of the IMF/World Bank-driven devastating “structural adjustment programme” on the continent. His reply was deftly panoramic: Quite simply, the West sees Africa as the rural sector of Europe… to guarantee Africa’s historic role as the supplier of cheap labour and raw materials to Europe… This remains the West’s view of Africa. Definitely the West is hostile to Africa”s development. We continue to fool ourselves if we think the contrary is the case. The West will never develop Africa. Our under-development is dialectically linked to their development. Europe is aware of this historical relationship and cannot do otherwise.”

Despite NEPAD, or precisely because of the very assumptions on which NEPAD is frantically pursued presently by a failed crop of African leaderships, nothing in the past 15 years since Babu’s observations gives cause to suggest that that definitive trajectory of the West’s mission in Africa is about to change course.

The more pressing point to note, however, is that the immediate emergency that faces the very survival of African people is the pathetic bunch that masquerades here and there as African leaderships. African women and men will sooner, rather than later, abandon the fractured, conflictive, alienating and constricting contraptions of the European-created “nation-states” that have helped to produce these leaderships.

Africans must now focus on real development – the revitalisation and consolidation of the institutions of Africa”s constituent nations and polities, or what Femi Nzegwu has succinctly described as the “indigenous spaces of real Africa” (see Nzegwu, Love, Motherhood and the African Heritage: The Legacy of Flora Nwapa, African Renaissance, 2001). In these institutions lie the organic framework to ensure transparency, probity, accountability, investment in people, humanised wealth creation, respect for human rights and civil liberties, and a true commitment to radically transform African existence.
Professor Ekwe-Ekwe, a contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com, is the author of the highly acclaimed African Literature in Defence of History: An Essay on Chinua Achebe (African Renaissance, 2001) and a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics. He wrote an earlier commentary for USAfricaonline.com and NigeriaCentral.com titled ‘Obasanjo obsession with Biafra versus facts of history.’

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My aversion to patronizing ‘Save’ Africa campaigns by Europeans, Americans

My aversion to patronizing ‘Save’ Africa campaigns by Europeans, Americans
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My aversion to patronizing ‘Save’ Africa campaigns by the West. By UZODINMA IWEALA

Special to USAfricaonline.com, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal

July 2007: Last fall, shortly after I returned from Nigeria, I was accosted by a perky blond college student whose blue eyes seemed to match the “African” beads around her wrists.

“Save Darfur!” she shouted from behind a table covered with pamphlets urging students to TAKE ACTION NOW! STOP GENOCIDE IN DARFUR!

My aversion to college kids jumping onto fashionable social causes nearly caused me to walk on, but her next shout stopped me.

“Don’t you want to help us save Africa?” she yelled.

It seems that these days, wracked by guilt at the humanitarian crisis it has created in the Middle East, the West has turned to Africa for redemption. Idealistic college students, celebrities such as Bob Geldof and politicians such as Tony Blair have all made bringing light to the dark continent their mission. They fly in for internships and fact-finding missions or to pick out children to adopt in much the same way my friends and I in New York take the subway to the pound to adopt stray dogs.

This is the West’s new image of itself: a sexy, politically active generation whose preferred means of spreading the word are magazine spreads with celebrities pictured in the foreground, forlorn Africans in the back. Never mind that the stars sent to bring succor to the natives often are, willingly, as emaciated as those they want to help.

Perhaps most interesting is the language used to describe the Africa being saved. For example, the Keep a Child Alive/” I am African” ad campaign features portraits of primarily white, Western celebrities with painted “tribal markings” on their faces above “I AM AFRICAN” in bold letters. Below, smaller print says, “help us stop the dying.”

Such campaigns, however well intentioned, promote the stereotype of Africa as a black hole of disease and death. News reports constantly focus on the continent’s corrupt leaders, warlords, “tribal” conflicts, child laborers, and women disfigured by abuse and genital mutilation. These descriptions run under headlines like “Can Bono Save Africa?” or “Will Brangelina Save Africa?” The relationship between the West and Africa is no longer based on openly racist beliefs, but such articles are reminiscent of reports from the heyday of European colonialism, when missionaries were sent to Africa to introduce us to education, Jesus Christ and “civilization.”

There is no African, myself included, who does not appreciate the help of the wider world, but we do question whether aid is genuine or given in the spirit of affirming one’s cultural superiority. My mood is dampened every time I attend a benefit whose host runs through a litany of African disasters before presenting a (usually) wealthy, white person, who often proceeds to list the things he or she has done for the poor, starving Africans. Every time a well-meaning college student speaks of villagers dancing because they were so grateful for her help, I cringe. Every time a Hollywood director shoots a film about Africa that features a Western protagonist, I shake my head — because Africans, real people though we may be, are used as props in the West’s fantasy of itself. And not only do such depictions tend to ignore the West’s prominent role in creating many of the unfortunate situations on the continent, they also ignore the incredible work Africans have done and continue to do to fix those problems.

Why do the media frequently refer to African countries as having been “granted independence from their colonial masters,” as opposed to having fought and shed blood for their freedom? Why do Angelina Jolie and Bono receive overwhelming attention for their work in Africa while Nwankwo Kanu or Dikembe Mutombo, Africans both, are hardly ever mentioned? How is it that a former mid-level U.S. diplomat receives more attention for his cowboy antics in Sudan than do the numerous African Union countries that have sent food and troops and spent countless hours trying to negotiate a settlement among all parties in that crisis?

Two years ago I worked in a camp for internally displaced people in Nigeria, survivors of an uprising that killed about 1,000 people and displaced 200,000. True to form, the Western media reported on the violence but not on the humanitarian work the state and local governments — without much international help — did for the survivors. Social workers spent their time and in many cases their own salaries to care for their compatriots. These are the people saving Africa, and others like them across the continent get no credit for their work.

Last month (June 2007) the Group of Eight industrialized nations and a host of celebrities met in Germany to discuss, among other things, how to save Africa. Before the next such summit, I hope people will realize Africa doesn’t want to be saved. Africa wants the world to acknowledge that through fair partnerships with other members of the global community, we ourselves are capable of unprecedented growth.
Uzodinma Iweala is the author of “Beasts of No Nation,” a novel about child soldiers. This commentary was first published in The Washington Post, Sunday, July 15, 2007

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Palm Pre is Pre(mature); I’ll live in the iPhone digital universe

Palm Pre is Pre(mature); I’ll live in the iPhone digital universe
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iphone3gs. Apple

iphone3gs. Apple

Palm Pre is Pre(mature); I’ll live in the iPhone digital universe

By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com and The Black Business Journal, Houston

www.USAfricaonline.com/iphone3vspre.chido2009.html

June 19, 2009 cannot come faster; it’s the day the new iPhone 3.0 comes into the marketplace. My continuing need to live more in a better digital universe, my preference for one device for phone-web-contacts-utilities-video-music-gps-sms-moneywatch apps compel yet another upgrade to the new Pre, BlackBerry or iPhone 3.0.

Beyond the media-pr hype, based on actualities , interface, reliability, and features, I think this first Palm Pre might just be Pre(mature) in comparison to the iPhone 3.0. The iPhone is a significantly better platform; it’s a better phone, years ahead as a phone-music player, greater and more effective utilitarian mobile device with a universe of options; period! Without a doubt, the marketing zing of Pre can only go so far; where the Pre rubber meets the road, the superior capacities and interface preeminence and overwhelming assortments of software options make the iPhone a much better choice. I will not “upgrade” to Pre, at this time. Therefore, I will wait for a few more days for the new iPhone 3.0, even with AT&T’s atrocious pricing fees and toxic international rates for multimedia execs like me who travel and like to use their phones outside the U.S. Oh, lest I forget, this Palm Pre cannot talk abroad…until, yes until….

I am following Apple’s June 8-9-10, 2009 developer’s events with special interest. The iPhone 3.0 announcements offer 100 more feature factors to live in what I call the iPhone digital universe. Earlier, on Saturday June 6, 2009, I drove to the Sprint store at Highway 6 near Westheimer in west Houston to buy the long-awaited Palm Pre. Before that visit, I read at least 30 reviews of the Pre. I looked forward to “upgrading” my Palm Treo to Palm Pre.

I own 3 series of the older and latest Palm Treo (with mac friendly software); I bought the iPhone the first few hours of the day it was released in 2007. Also, I owned the latest, sweet, reliable iPod Touch 3G until it was stolen 3 weeks ago.

Before I tell you why, specifically, let me state that I am a new tech-gadgets pro user. I own several products from the Apple Macintosh platform. Regardless, without any sentiments, I do not keep inadequate Apple gadgets.

I used the very first iPhone for about 10 days, painfully without the Spotlight software to navigate almost 5000 contacts on my business-family lists. That iPhone was clearly inadequate. Apple users screamed while Apple dragged ts feet until recently with a universal search capacity. Reasonably, the Apple sales and tech staff in 2 Houston stores said to me at the time: “this first version of the iPhone is not quite for you due to thousands of names/contacts.” I returned the iPhone, and kept my trusty Treo.

I’ll narrow things to 6 key issues for me on this Pre versus iPhone option:

1) First impressions and impact. I took the Pre last Saturday, turned it on, and slid open the device which exposed the sharp edges. The edges still make me wonder if Pre’s chief evangelist-key funder Roger McNamee Pre and Jon Rubinstein are hiding the fact that the Palm Pre is a nail-cutter, a weapon of sorts, too.

2) On capacity. The Pre is, without beating about the bush, a junior iPhone wanna-be, even with all the multi-tasking and push technology potential and measurable prowess. Pre has a much smaller screen, too little buttons, plasticky, toyish and rammed too close to each other.

3) Reliability. An effort to task it on multi-aspects of performance forced a crash. Understandable for a version 1.0. I called a Sprint staff….Restarted and back to operations….

4) Response to tactile communication. The hand gestures and all that tactile signals by a Sprint staff seemed forced on Pre, and did not respond well; he murmured and we moved to another Pre.

As he struggled with the gestures, I remembered my ever responsive iPod Touch. Was this a cynical joke rigged by Steve P. Jobs via this Sprint staff to task my patience with the Palm Pre, and compel and instant comparison with the iPhone and the real Mac universe? Nah. The guy told me around 5pm ‘we sold some, and there are about 10 left….’

5) Size really does matter. Pre is a good size for those who seek a smaller phone. I need a mobile internet device-phone-pda not something that feels like a make-up holder. I need a full fledged phone or better.

6) The abysmal lack of softwares for the Pre that could do one 90th of what one stuffed iPhone could raised value, functionalty and utility challenges, too. The iPhone smashes the Pre here in a manner comparable to having The Rock in wrestling match against Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel!

Welcome back, Steve Jobs, Long Live the iPhone and Apple!



Chido Nwangwu, recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), is Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com (first African-owned U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published on the internet), USAfrica The Newspaper, CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal, USAfricaTV, AchebeBooks.com, and several blogs/e-groups, has been a participant at the World Technology Forum in San Francisco by PRI/BBC and contributing analyst to CNN’s Inside Africa, VOA, and newspapers/sites. He has served as an adviser to the Mayor of Houston on international business (Africa) and appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, NPR, CBS News, NBC and ABC news affiliates. www.USAfricaonline.com/chido.html
Pre v iPhone images from smh.au


This USAfricaonline.com commentary is copyrighted. Archiving on any other web site or newspaper is unauthorized except with a Written Approval by USAfricaonline.com Founder.

•USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com (characterized by The New York Times as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks) established May 1992, our first edition of USAfrica magazine was published August 1993; USAfrica The Newspaper on May 11, 1994; and CLASSmagazine on May 2, 2003.



APPRECIATION: A young father writes his One year old son: “If only my heart had a voice.…”

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SOCCER: Nigeria, South Africa host world soccer in 2009 and 2010

SOCCER: Nigeria, South Africa host world soccer in 2009 and 2010
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SOCCER: Nigeria and South Africa host world soccer fests in 2009 and 2010

By Lavinia Mahlangu.

Special to USAfrica and CLASSmagazine.

It’s official! In 2009 and 2010 the world will be treated to a spectacular soccer experience in Africa, as

Africa map

Africa map

FIFA announced Egypt and Nigeria would host world cup youth soccer tournaments in 2009. FIFA’s Executive Committee has agreed that in 2009, Egypt would host the FIFA under 20 World Cup and that Nigeria would host the FIFA under 17 World Cup. The Nigerian government has already submitted the necessary guarantees to FIFA, assuring that it can host a successful event. “With South Africa hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup in the same year, it promises to be a busy one for the African continent, but also an extremely exciting one,” the world football governing body said on its website.

Both Nigeria and Egypt have hosted FIFA junior events in the past. In 1997 Egypt hosted the U-17 World Cup, with Brazil, inspired by a young Ronaldinho emerging as the winners. Nigeria hosted the U-20 event two years later. This time Spain took the laurels, with many of the stars of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany on display, including Esteban Cambiasso, Rafael Marquez, Xavi and the irrepressible Ronaldinho.

In 2010, South Africa will host the biggest soccer event of them all, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, set to take place at ten stadia in nine cities across the country.

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The great writer Achebe joins Brown faculty

The great writer Achebe joins Brown faculty
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The great Achebe joins Brown faculty

Special to USAfricaonline.com and AchebeBooks.com

By Nicole Friedman


Internationally renowned Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe has joined the Brown ACHEBE.author.ThingsFallApartUniversity faculty as the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and a professor of Africana Studies. Though his appointment is already effective, he will take over his full responsibilities in the spring semester, said Professor of Africana Studies Tricia Rose PhD ’93, who chairs the department.

Achebe, who joins Brown after 19 years on the Bard College faculty, “won’t be offering independent new courses of his own,” Rose said.

The main “vehicle by which he’ll be making an intellectual contribution” will be through the Chinua Achebe Colloquium on Africa, a new initiative focused on Achebe’s “intellectual, pedagogical and artistic works,” Rose said. Achebe may also teach or co-teach courses already offered by the Africana department and give presentations in Africana classes, she said.

Achebe honored with USAfrica 1st Lifetime Achievement award at celebration of 50 years of ‘Things Fall Apart’


Achebe is the fourth “distinguished writer of world significance” to join the Africana Studies faculty and the only one of the four from Africa, Rose said. Because the department’s work is a “wonderful combination of thought and practice,” Achebe’s appointment will be a “profound consolidation of existing strengths,” she added.

“Things Fall Apart,” Achebe’s 1958 novel,is the most widely-read work of African fiction, according to a University press release. Since Africana studies is a relatively young department, adding such an important figure “covers — in one stroke — a lot of ground,” said Dean of the Faculty Rajiv Vohra P’07.

The colloquium will host one major event each spring and several smaller events each year, Rose said. This spring, the colloquium is set to host a series of events based around dramatic readings of Achebe’s major works. The following spring, the plan is to host a “seminar slash conference on governance in Africa,” Rose said.

Since Achebe is already a central figure in Africana studies, the colloquium will bring scholars to Brown “who work on a wide array of issues — not only in literature — but also politics in contemporary Africa,” Vohra said.

Achebe is also interested in beginning a project to translate “classic texts in European literature” into Igbo, Achebe’s native language, Rose said.

Though Achebe will not teach full-time, the Africana department is “very interested in making sure that people will have regular access to him,” Rose said. She suggested the possibility of regular office hours for students who have expressed knowledge of or interest in Achebe’s fields of study.

Achebe’s appointment, which “happened very quickly,” is an example of what the University’s Target of Opportunity hiring program was intended for, Vohra said. “The program was meant to do precisely this kind of thing — that is, allow us to make quick decisions when an opportunity arose of this kind,” Vohra said.

Discussions about hiring Achebe began in June, and the decision was finalized last week, Rose said.

It has not been discussed whether Achebe’s wife, Christie Achebe — a visiting professor at Bard — will also be hired at Brown, Rose said. “We are more than happy to discuss that with her,” she added.

The University will hold a welcoming event for Achebe on Nov. 10, Rose said, which will feature his newest book, “The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays.”

——————————-

Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart': time for Nobel prize for Literature has come — says Prof. Lindfors at USAfrica Best of Africa 080808 events in Houston; challenges Nobel committee to do what’s right and deserving….
Achebe honored with USAfrica 1st Lifetime Achievement award at celebration of 50 years of ‘Things Fall Apart’

Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart': time for Nobel prize for Literature has come— says Prof. Lindfors at USAfrica Best of Africa 080808 events in Houston; challenges Nobel committee to do what’s right and deserving…. http://www.usafricaonline.com/achebe.lindfors.chido2008.html

Achebe honored with USAfrica 1st Lifetime Achievement award at celebration of 50 years of ‘Things Fall Apart’

(cover photo, below, of Achebe on the cover of USAfrica and CLASSmagazine by Chido Nwangwu ©2006)

class.cover5.8achebe080808

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HONORS

HONORS
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DISTINGUISHED AWARDS:

USAfrica’s Founder Chido Nwangwu, Gen. Teidi get honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree

The leading U.S-sponsored international christian education college/seminary in Africa, WATS during its 20th Anniversary events May 20-23, 2009, in Lagos, awarded two of its first honorary Doctor of Humanities degrees to the Founder of the USAfrica multimedia networks and data mining corporation Chido Nwangwu, and retired Gen. Samuel L. Teidi, member of the Board of Directors of one of Africa’s largest corporations, Dangote Flour Mills. Since 1992, WATS has been officially affiliated with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Nigeria’s first indigenous university).

The keynote speaker at the anniversary is Prof. Pat Utomi, a former candidate for Nigeria’s presidency in 2007 and one of the African continent’s leading public policy analysts.

Speaking on behalf of he board of trustees of WATS, its founder and acting provost Dr. Gary Maxey, an American missionary, said “it’s such a high honor for an institution with moral and ethical foundations to honor the two who count among Africa’s most dedicated professionals, former former Commandant of Nigeria’s School of Ammunition retired Gen. Teidi and USAfrica’s Founder Chido Nwangwu who is recognized and respected as the most influential and authoritative African-born multimedia executive in the United States.”

It was Gen. Teidi’s second honorary degree; having received a Doctor of Science degree from St. Clement University in Australia.

Dr. Maxey adds that “Chido Nwangwu earns this 2009 Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in respect and recognition of his almost 25 years of authoring, broadcasting and articulating hundreds of original, authoritative public policy advocacies and for his strong and consistent position of fighting authoritarianisms and bigotry in order to foster a better environment for people of all races and backgrounds towards the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness and dedication to God’s grace. He actively supports christian education. He served as an advisory board member on international business to the former Mayor of Houston (America’s 4th largest city) and he is the first continental African admitted as member of the 100 Black Men of America.”

The Twentieth Anniversary celebrations will include a number of activities, including a three-day conference tagged “The Power of the African-American Pulpit,” and features the teaching and preaching of Dr. Ralph Douglas West (Church Without Walls, in Houston, Texas), Dr. Maurice Watson (Beulahland Bible Church, in Macon, Georgia), and Dr. Sola Aworinde (Agape Bible Church in Lagos). The other recipients of honorary Doctor of Divinity degree are Rev. Leroy Adams, Rev. Donald R. Plemons, Rev. Bernard Dawson, Rev. B.C.K. Obiako and Alan Bullock.

Dr. Maxey makes the point: “we are honoring, in part, Chido’s 25 years of effectively utilizing the multimedia of print, tv, radio, internet (especially the USAfrica multimedia networks, the CNN, BBC, VOA, South African Broadcasting corporation, Nigeria media outlets and numerous international platforms) to empower and foster a focused transnational exchange between Africans and Americans. We recall that America’s flagship newspaper The New York Times recently cited Chido Nwangwu and his USAfrica networks as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned U.S-based media corporation.”

Chido who is based in Houston-Texas is the Founder & Publisher of the first African-owned, U.S based newspaper to be published on the Internet USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine, The Black Business Journal, USAfricaTV, AchebeBooks.com, the e-groups of AfricanChristians, IgboEvents, Nigeria360, NigeriaBanks.com, and other platforms.

Dr. Maxey also notes that retired General Teidi “is being honoured by the Seminary for his contributions to humanity and as a long-time supporter of WATS. For decades Gen. Teidi has made continuous provision for orphans, widows and others in destitute circumstances, including sponsorship of education up to the university level. He is instrumental to the admission of over 850 Nigerians on a subsidized scheme basis.”Teidi, chairman of Overseas Agency Nigeria Limited, was commissioned into the Nigerian Army in 1969 following his graduation from the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) in September 1969. He has since furthered his military and academic training and obtained a diploma from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, UK; B.Sc. (Applied Physics) from the Council of National Academic Award (CCNA); M.Phil (Atmosphere Physics).

APPRECIATION: A young father writes his One year old son: “If only my heart had a voice….”

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USAfrica’s Founder Chido Nwangwu, Gen. Teidi get honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree

USAfrica’s Founder Chido Nwangwu, Gen. Teidi get honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree
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ACADEMIC HONORS:

USAfrica’s Founder Chido Nwangwu, Gen. Teidi get honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree

Lagos: The U.S.-sponsored, leading international christian education college/seminary in Africa and an affiliate of the University of Nigeria (UNN), WATS, during its 20th Anniversary events May 20-23, 2009, in

USAfrica multimedia networks publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu being interviewed by the media after the conferment. Photo by Agbo Agara, USAfrica.

USAfrica multimedia networks publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu being interviewed by the media after the conferment. Photo by Agbo Agara, USAfrica.

Lagos, awarded two of its first honorary Doctor of Humanities degrees to the Founder of the USAfrica multimedia networks and data mining corporation Chido Nwangwu, and retired Gen. Samuel L. Teidi, member of the Board of Directors of one of Africa’s largest corporations, Dangote Flour Mills.

The keynote speaker at the anniversary is Prof. Pat Utomi, a former candidate for Nigeria’s presidency in 2007 and one of the African continent’s leading public policy analysts. Since 1992, WATS has been officially affiliated with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Nigeria’s first indigenous university).

Speaking on behalf of he board of trustees of WATS, its founder and acting provost Dr. Gary Maxey, an American missionary, said “it’s such a high honor for an institution with moral and ethical foundations to honor the two who count among Africa’s most dedicated professionals, former former Commandant of Nigeria’s School of Ammunition retired Gen. Teidi and USAfrica’s Founder Chido Nwangwu who is recognized and respected as the most influential and authoritative African-born multimedia executive in the United States.”

chido.doctorate2009.Lagos1-300x200It was Gen. Teidi’s second honorary degree; having received a Doctor of Science degree from St. Clement University in Australia.

Dr. Maxey adds that “Chido Nwangwu earns this 2009 Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in respect and recognition of his almost 25 years of authoring, broadcasting and articulating hundreds of original, authoritative public policy advocacies and for his strong and consistent position of fighting authoritarianisms and bigotry in order to foster a better environment for people of all races and backgrounds towards the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness and dedication to God’s grace. He actively supports christian education. He served as an advisory board member on international business to the former Mayor of Houston (America’s 4th largest city) and he is the first continental African admitted as member of the 100 Black Men of America.”

The Twentieth Anniversary celebrations will include a number of activities, including a three-day conference tagged “The Power of the African-American Pulpit,” and features the teaching and preaching of Dr. Ralph Douglas West (Church Without Walls, in Houston, Texas), Dr. Maurice Watson (Beulahland Bible Church, in Macon, Georgia), and Dr. Sola Aworinde (Agape Bible Church in Lagos). The other recipients of honorary Doctor of Divinity degree are Rev. Leroy Adams, Rev. Donald R. Plemons, Rev. Bernard Dawson, Rev. B.C.K. Obiako and Alan Bullock.

Dr. Maxey makes the point: “we are honoring, in part, Chido’s 25 years of effectively utilizing the multimedia of print, tv, radio, internet (especially the USAfrica multimedia networks, the CNN, BBC, VOA, South African Broadcasting corporation, Nigeria media outlets and numerous international platforms) to empower and foster a focused transnational exchange between Africans and Americans. We recall that America’s flagship newspaper The New York Times recently cited Chido Nwangwu and his USAfrica networks as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned U.S-based media corporation.”

Chido who is based in Houston-Texas is the Founder & Publisher of the first African-owned, U.S based newspaper to be published on the Internet USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine, The Black Business Journal, USAfricaTV, AchebeBooks.com, the e-groups of AfricanChristians, IgboEvents, Nigeria360, NigeriaBanks.com, and other platforms.

Dr. Maxey also notes that retired General Teidi “is being honoured by the Seminary for his contributions to humanity and as a long-time supporter of WATS. For decades Gen. Teidi has made continuous provision for orphans, widows and others in destitute circumstances, including sponsorship of education up to the university level. He is instrumental to the admission of over 850 Nigerians on a subsidized scheme basis.”Teidi, chairman of Overseas Agency Nigeria Limited, was commissioned into the Nigerian Army in 1969 following his graduation from the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) in September 1969. He has since furthered his military and academic training and obtained a diploma from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, UK; B.Sc. (Applied Physics) from the Council of National Academic Award (CCNA); M.Phil (Atmosphere Physics).

—————-

Congratulations, Chido merits the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree…

By Temple Chima Ubochi

ubochit@yahoo.com

Bonn, Germany

Friday, May 15, 2009 in NigeriaWorld.com, excerpted from commentary

http://nigeriaworld.com/feature/publication/ubochi/051509.html

Please permit me here and now to congratulate Chido Nwangwu, for the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree he will be awarded on May 23, 2009. Chido will be receiving the honorary award from WATS, which is the leading international christian education college/seminary in Africa, during its 20th Anniversary events May 20-23, 2009, in Lagos. WATS will award one of the two of its first honorary Doctor of Humanities degrees to Chido Nwangwu who is the Founder of the USAfrica multimedia networks and data mining corporation. Since 1992, the WATS diploma and degree programs have been affiliated with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Nigeria’s first indigenous university).

The founder and acting provost of WATS, Dr. Gary Maxey, an American missionary, said “it’s such a high honor for an institution with moral and ethical foundations to honor one of those who count among Africa’s most dedicated professionals. That USAfrica’s Founder Chido Nwangwu is recognized and respected as the most influential and authoritative African-born multimedia executive in the United States!

I agreed with Dr. Maxey intoto when he added that “Chido Nwangwu earns this 2009 Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in respect and recognition of his almost 25 years of authoring, broadcasting and articulating hundreds of original, authoritative public policy advocacies and for his strong and consistent position of fighting authoritarianisms and bigotry in order to foster a better environment for people of all races and backgrounds towards the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness and dedication to God’s grace. He actively supports christian education. He served as an advisory board member on international business to the former Mayor of Houston (America’s 4th largest city) and he is the first continental African admitted as member of the 100 Black Men of America.”

Dr. Maxey went on to say: “we are honoring, in part, Chido’s 25 years of effectively utilizing the multimedia of print, tv, radio, internet (especially the USAfrica multimedia networks, the CNN, BBC, VOA, South African Broadcasting corporation, Nigeria media outlets and numerous international platforms) to empower and foster a focused transnational exchange between Africans and Americans We recall that America’s flagship newspaper The New York Times recently cited Chido Nwangwu and his USAfrica networks as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned U.S-based media corporation.”

For those who do not know: Chido who is based in Houston-Texas, is the Founder & Publisher of the first African-owned, U.S based newspaper to be published on the Internet USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine, The Black Business Journal, USAfricaTV, AchebeBooks.com, the e-groups of AfricanChristians, IgboEvents, Nigeria360, NigeriaBanks.com, and other platforms.

Chido merited this award and he deserves the very best of awards for his hardwork and service. I know that we will be hearing more of such goodnews for Chido in the future. He has carved a niche for himself. I can only add: Chido nwannaa, jide nke iiji (keep it up). As a fellow lion (UNN alumnus), fellow UNN Students´ Union official during our days at the university (although we served in different sessions) and a fellow Aba brought up, I owe Chido this congratulation. He should accept it.

Chido’s success is a source of pride to many of us. It is good to rejoice with our people who are doing marvellously well in their field of endeavour.

Temple Ubochi

———

USAfrica, Houston. June 5, 2009

Dear Temple: I googled my name and saw your kind and gracious notes a few minutes ago, dateline Bonn, Germany. May God bless you for your kind words and encouragement.

We had a very blessed and worthy event. I did not know that so many of our folks, Africans and Americans, had so much respect and appreciation for the modest, growing efforts we make at USAfrica. We are even more humbled by these graces, support and prayers.

I returned from Nigeria n London last Thursday.

Jisie ike, and I will always remember/

Chido Nwangwu, USAfrica.

———————–

From: Lady Mrs. Oyibo Odinamadu, former vice presidential candidate in Nigeria’s 1978-1979 elections; she holds a 1952 Bachelor of Arts in Education, History, Sociology, from the Lincoln University of Missouri, USA; Master of Arts in Education, Columbia University, New York, USA 1953. She is Knight of St. Christopher of the Church Of Nigeria.
e-mail: oyibomail@yahoo.com

Congratulations, my dear son, Dr. Chido!

It is with the greatest excitement and elation that I received the news of the acknowledgement and appreciation of your professional efforts and achievements by the WATS – the foremost international Christian College/Seminary in Africa – with the honorary doctorate Degree of Doctor of Humanities. Also the affiliation of the WATS with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) is very noteworthy.

The honor cannot be more richly deserved or better fitted. You have more than worked for it; and I am sure that more of such recognitions are in the pipeline! As I have said before: You are one of the outstanding personalities that make the Igbo population to tick! You have done us – the Igbo, Nigerians and Africans – very proud indeed! Congratulations!

Nno-o! Jisie ike! Ike agwuna gi n’olu! Na gi nwe aka-a!
—————-

On Thu, May 14, 2009 at 12:54 PM, Oscar Juli8 <oscarjuli8@gmail.com> wrote:

Congratulations!

Chido, I am very proud of you for all your quiet achievements. You are not loud, yet you are heard all over the world. In your near extreme humility you are hardly ever spotted in boisterous events, still you are viewed globally. I believe that your wonderful personality accentuated by your excellent command of both the written and spoken English language have niched you in eminence. It would not be an exaggeration to describe you as a nulli secundus in authoritative US-Africa link authoring. Your candidacy in the forthcoming West Africa Theological Seminary (WATS) honorary Doctor of Humanities Award is another star added to your galaxy.

Chido, you are not only a source of pride to the Arochukwu Kingdom, you are more so to all Africans and African-Americans, even beyond to other peoples of the world who cherish literary excellence. Chido, if you do not mind, may I be the first to address you as Dr. Chido Nwangwu.

Okoro Oji.

Mazi ndeewo.
I’m in WashDC; rtn2 Houston in 5 hours/
I’m very deeply touched by your kind words and relentless support; for the prayers and motivation of our family and friends, at all times, whether I’m going thru’ the toughening, tasking path of temporary thunder or propelled by the certainty of the sunshine of God’s grace.
Cheers and to God be all the glory!
Chidozie Nwangwu
———–

On Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 6:21 PM, Asagwara Ken <Ken.Asagwara@gov.mb.ca> wrote:

My Dear Brother Dr. Nwangwu:

Congratulations…. You are one brother I talk a lot about to my while friends and colleagues directing them to your website. It is needless to say, I am proud of you because I know you know that. Keep up the good works.

Really, I am looking forward to joining your organization in the near future, if circumstance permits it. Till then, keep shooting, my bros.

KC Prince Asagwara, Canada.

—————–

On Mon, Jun 1, 2009 at 3:20 PM, Uzo Udemba <udembau@trendtv.tv> wrote:

Chido. I feel very vindicated. I thank  God for the talents  He has bestowed upon you. The harvest is indeed plenty but the laborers are very few….  It is my fervent prayer that God continues to bless us with many more like you.

Keep it up brother.

Uzo Udemba, Chairman TrendTV, Lagos

—————-
Summary/updated bio-profile:


Dr. CHIDO NWANGWU, recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn , is the Founder and Publisher of the influential and respected multimedia networks USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com (first African-owned U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published on the Internet), the Chinua Achebe project Achebebooks.com,  CLASSmagazine, the pictorial events mega-site with the largest collection of contemporary images/events of continental Africans in America PhotoWorks.TV, The Black Business JournalBBJonline.com, several blogs including Nigeria360e-group, and USAfrica The Newspaper which voted the Number One community newspaper in Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S.) in the annual ranking by the readers and editors of the Houston Press in 2001. 

The flagship of American media, The New York Times of September 23, 2003, noted that USAfrica is America’s largest African-owned multimedia company. The New York Times’ reporter Simon Romero wrote that Chido “Nwangwu recently created a magazine called CLASS for affluent Africans in the United States.” To be sure, it’s not only for the affluent but the willing and deserving. CLASS is the Africans-in-America’s own Ebony and People and GQ – all rolled into one unique product: an ultra-glossy magazine of African style, music, living, fashion and our younger generation interests. He calls the latter group ‘generation Class.’ CLASS is the magazine for successful, pioneering, style-pacesseting and exemplary Africans in America.

He appears as an analyst on the CNN, the Voice of America/WorldNet and the Black Entertainment Televsion (BET), as well a number of local U.S. tv and radio stations. Also, he was the only continental African publisher/reporter who traveled with and covered U.S. President Bill Clinton’s historic visit to parts of Africa, March-April 2, 1998; and covered Clinton’s visit to Nigeria in late August, 2000.

Chido served on Houston Mayor Lee Brown’s international business advisory board (Africa) and has been honored by the Washington-D.C.based National Immigration Forum for utilizing the media to fight authoritarianism and foster freedom of expression in parts of African continent. He has served on the board of the Houston chapter of the NAACP, and was the first continental African to be admitted to the 100 Black Men of America, here in the U.S.

Dr. Chido Nwangwu served as the moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, Security, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University, in Rhode Island.

In 2005, he established one of the most vibrant Africa community e-groups/blogs/community calendars for sharing info/announcements of upcoming and special events, insight to significant dates, festivals, events, resolutions/communique and historic milestones involving (or relevant to) persons, organizations and groups of Nigerian descent Nigeria360, the blog for the Igbo pan-African heritage, called IgboEvents; an Anglican community blog, AnglicanAfrican, and more. They are all powered by the resources of USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com.

Nwangwu speaks at colleges and businesses on technology issues, especially how the unfolding the digital world and the Internet affect Africans, African-Americans and recent immigrants. He served as a panelist at the 2000 British Broadcasting Corporation/Public Radio International global technology forum in San Francisco, California.

He served on the editorial board of the Daily Times of Nigeria in the 1989 into early 1990s, 1988-1989 assistant editor of the Platform magazine, African and The World journal. He began his professional career as a very young man in the news, sports and programs production/camera/editing departments of the Nigerian Television Authority. He contributes to The Mail and Guardian of South Africa, Houston Chronicle, and numerous U.S.-based and Africa issues publications.

In recognition of his engaging and pioneering digital design work on USAfricaonline.com and other web sites, Chido was voted the #1 African-American web designer in 1997 by the Houston Association of Black Journalists. He has since conceptualized, designed and maintained through his company, USAfrica Digital Media, a number of web sites, including private corporations and such governmental sites as the Abia State of Nigeria first web site in 2001.

Nwangwu is author of the special report, Clinton’s Africa, and is writing a book on the experiences of recent African immigrants in the U.S.

He has been profiled in the Houston Chronicle (8th highest circulated newspaper in the U.S.), the Orlando Sentinel, Mail and Guardian of South Africa, and a number of other publications. Some of Chido Nwangwu’s works, bio-data and context of his writings were recently profiled in February, 2001 in a report in the Houston Press by prolific essayist and reporter John Suval.

He is the convener of the annual inter-denominational USAfrica Prayer Breakfast, which holds at 9am prompt on the last Saturday of every January, of every year, since 1999. He serves on the advisory board of several community building and international organizations including EVA (Education as Vaccine against AIDS-based in Nigeria and the U.S). He is an active new technologies analyst, television and multimedia executive, cross-cultural business consultant and an artist.


For speaking engagements, e-mail or call 713-270-5500. Wireless 832-45-CHIDO (24436)

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President Obama, hate-mongers and mob cons

President Obama, hate-mongers and mob cons
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President Obama, hate-mongers and mob cons                                                                                              http://www.usafricaonline.com/chido.obamavshatemongers09.html

By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com, www.Achebebooks.com, CLASS magazine, The Black Business Journal, the largest digital images/pictorial events domain for Africans  abroad PhotoWorks.TV and USAfrica.TV.

Follow Chido at FaceBook.com/usafrica
and at Twitter.com/chido247

Houston September 9, 2009: The Republican zealot from South Carolina’s 2nd congressional district Rep. Joe Wilson who heckled and interrupted President ObamaUSAfrica-08man2Barack Obama’s speech to the joint assembly of the U.S Congress a few hours ago with the words “you lie” does not reflect bad manners as much as it reveals the much avoided racial prejudices in high and low places. One of the sociological and political fictions of contemporary American life is that the election of Barack Hussein Obama, an African-American, as President has since ushered in a post-racial America. In a twisted way, thanks to the uncouth Joe!

The usually avoided hard truth is this: Congressman Wilson is part of the mob squad of Republican degenerates who, frankly hate the thought and spit at the irrevocable reality of a Black man, this Black man, this son of an African scholar is the President and Commander in Chief of these United States of America! The same silliness by the same crew followed Obama’s back-to-school positive, uplifting speech of September 8, 2009 at at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia to American students with the usual, flaky charges “Obama’s turning America into a communist country!”

Since his disreputable, barnyard manners, Wilson has issued a false, misleading apology for his outburst and unparliamentary misconduct with these words:

“This evening, I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the president’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill,” the statement said. “While I disagree with the president’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility.”

But I went to his twitter page (CongJoeWilson) a few minutes after his yelling and saw the following pre-thought: “Happy Labor Day! Wonderful parade at Chapin, many people called out to oppose Obamacare which I assured them would be relayed tomorrow to DC.” Posted at 8:29 AM Sep 7th 2009, from his TwitterBerry. Note he promised the opposition”would be relayed to (Washington) DC” – translation: Obama!

What will this man do next as “relaying” the evil, toxic messages of his ilk to Obama and the rest of America?

The likes of South Carolina’s congressman Wilson demean the presidency and fuel vicious conflicts. Let Mr. Wilson know what you think about his crass rudeness to the office of the President of the United States of America by calling him at (202) 225-2452 or (803) 939-0041

There are four other issues we need to address:

1) Why are these zealots and people threatened by Obama’s message of inclusive empowerment of the previously locked out and deprived? Why do these ideological extremists distort morally expanding options to healthcare to those who cannot afford existing costs and insurance restrictions as “socialism.. Afro-Communism..Nazism”, etc?

2) When will Obama seriously awaken to the lethal words and coded relays of these people? I am still surprised Obama treats these kooks like the we-can-all-get -along-excited-campers! As a student of international politics, of state power and of media engagement that excessive we-can-all-get-along theology as the method of governance amidst mechanized hatreds and bigotry reflect a dangerous naivete and illusory pursuit of accommodation. It could have been fine for the election and garnering votes. I saw and heard first hand while covering Barack Obama’s 2008 Yes We Can campaign, that he has an inclusive vision for all Americans and seeks harmony with the rest of the world. www.usafricaonline.com/chido.obama08houston.html

But now he has to govern, Lead and move the country forward with a coalition of the willing; thanks GW Bush!

3) Is the freedom of expression a license to fuel the flames of hate, bigotry and instigation of murder and possible assassination of the President? A Republican pastor said the other day on a pulpit in the U.S that he wants and prefers Obama dead! He wants Michelle widowed, and the daughters….

That preacher of hellfire and brimstone reflect, also, the dangers of the continuing misrepresentations and falsehoods engineered for and at the summer 2009 “healthcare town-hall meetings”. Why has the Republican party given nods and winks to their tailored, predictable, toxic mobocracy of the “healthcare town-hall meetings” masquerading as democratic expressions. Why did they allow shouting down opponents to morph into Republican modus operandi? Joe Wilson had his soul mates in those yelling riot brigades, and beyond. Here’s why? Only a few days ago, right-wing talk-radio bomb throwers and distortion artists Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage Wiener and Sean Hannity demanded as required and standard behavior for Republicans and extreme conservatives that for the remainder of the term of Obama’s presidency: they must use raucous heckling, wild accusations, shrill partisan roars and physical disruption of public policy events against Obama’s policies and moves as the tools of engagement….

Remarkably, the same man Obama continues to shower with respect and praise U.S Senator Charles Grassley, a senior Republican from Iowa, who falsely stated that Obama’s healthcare agenda includes pulling the plug on grandma! There others like him who have said worse things; and these are no fringe elements.

If Rush, Glen, Savage, Sean and their allied troops of double-barrel bigots and sophisticated racists continue to demean U.S President Obama with vile, vicious contempt over the airwaves while others inside the wells of the U.S Congress like Congresspersons Jean Schmidt of Ohio and Joe Wilson continue to question the birthplace and patriotism of Obama so openly, pray, what do they say in their Blacks-and-women-not-allowed country clubs and demographically deed-restricted communities?

The greater relief is that America and Americans are fair-minded. But the congenital supremacist brigades and those I call the mob cons will continue to fail at the ballot boxes into 21st century America. Americans are, historically and irreversibly accommodating and provides unique opportunities to recent immigrant citizens such as myself, a young continental African in the U.S., like they did thirty years earlier for President Obama’s father, Barack Hussein Obama, Snr.

4) We must ask the contextual question: What next will the zealots do? When will honest and decent men and women draw the line and say enough!?

Let us bear witness to history that the rabid partisans are only setting the dangerous stage for yet another hurtful, potentially violent twist in America’s history. No! At least, I voiced my responsible and reasoned concern to these historic workers of iniquities and entrenched dispossessors of their poor, needy neighbors. When will you, and other good men and women stand up strong and halt these hate-mongers before….?

Chido Nwangwu, recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), is Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com (first African-owned U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published on the internet), USAfrica The Newspaper, CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal, USAfricaTV, AchebeBooks.com, and several blogs/e-groups, has been a participant at the World Technology Forum in San Francisco by PRI/BBC and contributing analyst to CNN’s Inside Africa, VOA, and newspapers/sites. He has served as an adviser to the Mayor of Houston on international business (Africa) and appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, NPR, CBS News, NBC and ABC news affiliates. www.USAfricaonline.com/chido.html

Linking to this report is appreciated. Archiving on any other web site or newspaper is unauthorized except with a Written Approval by USAfricaonline.com Founder.

USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com (characterized by The New York Times as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks) established May 1992, our first edition of USAfrica magazine was published August 1993; USAfrica The Newspaper on May 11, 1994; and CLASSmagazine on May 2, 2003.

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