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Michael Jackson’s “Immortal” album coming November 21

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Michael Jackson’s “Immortal” album coming November 21

Special to USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine, Houston

The world’s greatest, late entertainer and pop music superstar will have his genius delivered posthumously, for the second time, to millions of his fans via an album entitled “Immortal.” USAfricaonline.com understands the album will be released on November 21, 2011.
It will feature new outages of his songs, a few remixes of some of his hit songs and new ones– to be released under the Epic Records label in conjunction with Jackson’s official estate management.

Reuters notes: it will feature an alternative version of the Jackson 5 hit “ABC,” medleys of Jackson’s chart-topping singles, mashups, and a choir recorded for “They Don’t Really Care About Us.”


“Immortal” is the soundtrack for a new Cirque du Soleil extravaganza on Michael Jackson’s music and life, “The Immortal World Tour,” which had its world premiere on Sunday ahead of a 10-month tour around North America.
Jackson died in June 2009 and left behind a wealth of musical material. Musical designer Kevin Antunes has been reworking the singer’s original master recordings, and is hoping to convey Jackson’s musical legacy through the new album.
“Michael’s legacy as the greatest entertainer of our lifetime is inspiring beyond words,” Antunes said in a statement, adding that the album “was built with love and respect for Michael’s music, his family, and his millions of fans around the world.”
“Immortal” follows the 2010 release “Michael,” which featured some of late singer’s unreleased tracks, and 2009’s “This Is It” album, based on rehearsal video for his planned London comeback concerts and which topped charts around the world.
“Immortal” will be available as a single 15-track album or a deluxe double-disc 22-track album, and goes on sale on November 21.
ref: Reuters/reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy.

 

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WInnie Mandela’s burial on Saturday; 3 presidents attending

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Three presidents will pay their respects at the funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on Saturday.

EFF leader Julius Malema is also expected to speak, while Fikile Mbalula will speak on behalf of the ANC as will Bathabile Dlamini in her capacity as leader of the ANC Women’s League.

Another politician, Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, will deliver a tribute on behalf of the extended family. Gauteng Premier David Makhura will welcome the mourners at the ceremony.

The AbaThembu Prince Azenathi Dalindyebo will deliver a royal address and Zukiswa Madikizela will pay tribute on behalf of the Madikizela family.

Among the expected musical performers are Thandiswa Mazwai and Sipho Hotstix Mabuza.

The funeral service at the Orlando Stadium is scheduled to start at 09:00 and is expected to finish at 13:00, after which a military ceremony will take place before the procession moves to the Fourways Memorial Park. By Jane Gerber/News24

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USAfrica: Nigeria’s LOOTERS LIST and Buhari’s selective corruption targets. By Majeed Dahiru

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PDP vs APC Looters List and Buhari’s selective corruption targets

By Majeed Dahiru

Special to USAfrica {Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • @USAfricaLive

 

Timipriye Silva, a former governor and PDP chieftain, who became a founding member and financier of APC, had his corruption charges quashed by a federal high court and Buhari’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to appeal the N19.5 billion fraud case.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to Nigeria’s First and Second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, the PDP appointed former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from [Buhari’s Information Minister] Lai Mohammed’s list.

For a party that has been accused of destroying Nigeria by squandering accrued oil revenues estimated at over $500 billion in sixteen years, it is confounding that Lai’s list is not only exclusively comprised of PDP looters but also captures the last two years of PDP’s last lap in power and included just Goodluck Jonathan’s associates, who supported him against candidate Buhari, while also relating only to funds used in the last electioneering campaign of the PDP.

Whenever the obviously abysmal performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration appears to be gaining sustained attention, and leading to murmuring within the rank and file of his supporters, a tale of humungous looting by opposition elements is usually spun and thrown into the public space to distract people away from the core issue of the failure of governance.

Like a fit of deja vu, the recently unveiled list of looters by Lai Mohammed, a fellow who comes across as more of President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief propagandist than a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria in charge of information and culture, didn’t come as a surprise. The list is all too familiar as the unveiling was a summarised rehash of politically exposed individuals who are members of the opposition party, close associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan, particularly his appointees in government, who have been named and shamed several times in well-coordinated media trials.

First on Lai’s list is Uche Secondus, the chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Lai had this to say of Secondus: “On the 19th of February 2015, he took N200 million only from the office of the NSA”. An unidentified former financial secretary of the PDP was similarly accused of “taking” N600 million from the same office of the National Security Adviser. Lai Mohammed also re-revealed that frontline member of PDP and media mogul, who deployed his media power to promote Goodluck Jonathan by de-marketing the Buhari candidacy in the run up to 2015 presidential election, Raymond Dokpesi, is on trial for “taking” N2.1 billion from the office of the then NSA. Lai also reminded Nigerians that his shouting match and former spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh is on trial for “collecting” N1.4 billion from the same office of the NSA.

Lai Mohammed’s expanded follow up list included the usual suspects – former ministers, PDP state governors, service chiefs, presidential aides, associates and family members of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who were collectively accused of looting Nigeria of close to $2.1 billion through the office of the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.).

The choice of words like “took” and “collected” deployed by Lai to describe the manner in which those named received these monies was deliberate for the maximum effect of propaganda, portraying the accused persons as looters who broke into NSA vault and catered away boxes of cash at something akin to a gun point.

While the clamp down on PDP looters who supported Goodluck Jonathan and are still members of the former ruling party has been heavy handed, others who decamped from PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the eve of the 2015 elections and supported candidate Buhari’s campaign with their share of loot have been forgiven. For example, former NSA, Sambo Dasuki is being treated as an apostate for his role in the disbursement of funds that were used to oil Goodluck Jonathan’s electioneering effort. He has been kept in detention illegally and in defiance of several judicial rulings. Judging by the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption standard of an accusation being tantamount to guilt, in clear contempt of court proceedings by the resort to the naming and shaming suspects even before investigations and criminal prosecution are concluded and convictions obtained, it becomes curious that Lai’s list didn’t reveal any new name. Rather some names were either missing or omitted from what is a familiar list. This appears so because the bulk of PDP bigwigs who “destroyed” Nigeria in sixteen years of national rule are firmly in control of the APC, from its elected national executives to the National Assembly and appointed members of the federal executive council. The majority of APC-elected governors were also former members of the PDP. Even recently decamped PDP members to APC, such as Musiliu Obanikoro and Sulivan Chime, who have been prominently named and shamed in the recent past, were conspicuously missing from the released list of looters.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to the first and second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, a former PDP appointed managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from Lai’s list. Also missing on that list is Bola Shagaya.

Arguably one of Africa’s richest women, with a reputation for close business and political ties to all first families in the past two decades, Bola Shagaya was exceptionally close to the Goodluck Jonathan family. Often described as a bosom friend of former first lady Patience Jonathan, she has been accused, in numerous instances, allegedly, of acting as Patience Jonathan’s front for the laundering of illicit money estimated at over N13 billion, while engaging in other fraudulent activities involved in state capture. All that may be in the past now as she has found her way back to reckoning with the marriage of her son, Seun Bakare to Damilola, the daughter of Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo. Little wonder then, Bola Shagaya’s name is not on Lai’s looters list.

In a clear display of the arrogance of ignorance, the Buhari administration has narrowed its war on corruption to the hounding of members of the Jonathan administration, other individuals and organisations that were known to have worked against the emergence of the President [Buhari] in the 2015 presidential elections. This is clearly evident in the selective nature of the current anti-corruption effort.

The tone of generalisation of the PDP as the problem of Nigeria, as an indicator of corruption, should make all members of PDP (both former and present) and their collaborators in other parties guilty, hence qualifying them for naming and shaming, while being liable for criminal prosecution.

Therefore, Buhari’s list of looters is devoid of integrity, because his selective war on corruption is indicative of corruption in itself. All that is required of a former PDP looter is to get baptised into APC and profess Buhari as the saviour of Nigeria. This is precisely responsible for the failure and ineffectiveness of the war on corruption. Nothing has changed as the current APC looters continue to loot Nigeria, while the redeemed former PDP looters continue to enjoy their loot in hibernation under the abundant grace of the infallible Buhari.

• Dahiru is based in Abuja 

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Obasanjo slams Buhari as “ineffective, incompetent, a failure”

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Nigeria’s former military ruler (from February 14, 1976-1979) and elected President (1999-2007), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has castigated the current leader, Muhammadu Buhari, who like him, ruled as a dictator (from December 31, 1983 to August 27, 1985) and elected President in 2015 for “bringing hardship on Nigerians”,, “running ineffective economic policies,” and causing a high number of “crippled businesses.”

The first lesson I learnt in my military training is to never reinforce failure. What we have now is failure. Never you reinforce failure. Let failure be failure.

Obasanjo who failed in a multi-pronged quest for an unprecedented 3rd-term as President (see/search USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com news index) told a delegation of the New Nigeria group (led by Chima Anyaso) that it will be foolish and counter-productive for Nigerians “to reinforce failure by re-electing ineffective and incompetent government in 2019…. The truth is this: When you have an ineffective and incompetent government, we are all victims. And don’t let anybody deceive you. Those of you who are in business, your business could have been better today if we have a competent and effective and performing government.”

He continued: “As I said, stop giving excuses; we met challenges. If there were no challenges, then we wouldn’t need you to come.”

“You came in because you know there were challenges and then giving us excuse that you have many challenges, that is why you haven’ t achieved results.

“And then you still want to go [for re-election]….  And if you do not see what you should see, you will then be a victim of what you don’t like, because it’ s only when you see what you should see and you do what you should do that you put away what you do not like.

“You see, I have publicly said and I mean it, that as a party, neither PDP nor APC can get us there as they have been. Never mind about reforms and apology and all that.”

Obasanjo was a key power broker who supported Buhari of the APC and abandoned his PDP then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Several retired army Generals and civic leaders are expressing their disappointment with the current leader.

Buhari has faced trailer-loads of problems, as he has with many members of his team exposed their relative inadequacies across various sectors of government.

Buhari contested and won under the banner of the APC, a party and presidency stifled by its naked instinct for nepotism, regional impunity, ideological sectarianism, punitive engagements as standard instruments of governance  and self-defeating insularity.

Lest we forget, Obasanjo became President under the umbrella of the corruption-ridden confederacy of financial locusts called the PDP.

Evidently, the battle for Nigeria’s 2019 elections has started, almost….                                                                                                 By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine and USAfrica magazine, appears occasionally as an analyst on CNN International, SKYnews (London). He is the author of the soon-to-be-released 2018 book,  MANDELA & ACHEBE: Leadership, Identity and Footprints of Greatness. ISBN 978-0-9893970-0-1

 

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Bombshell! Trump’s lawyers sue porn star $20m for discussing her affair with the U.S President

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Special to USAfrica {Houston] • USAfricaonline.com

Los Angeles (AFP) -Donald Trump’s lawyer claims porn actress Stormy Daniels is liable for at least $20 million for violating a nondisclosure agreement she says prevents her from discussing an affair with the president, according to a Friday court filing.

A lawyer for Michael Cohen’s Essential Consultants limited liability company — which paid Daniels $130,000 under the agreement — made the filing, which said that Daniels violated the deal “at least” 20 times.

“The Settlement Agreement provides for liquidated damages of one million dollars ($1,000,000) per instance of breach,” the court filing says.

Daniels signed the agreement pertaining to an alleged affair a decade earlier shortly before the 2016 election, leading to allegations that the payment amounted to an illicit contribution to Trump’s campaign.

Lawyer Michael Avenatti filed a lawsuit on behalf of Daniels — whose real name Stephanie Clifford — earlier this month seeking to toss out the confidential settlement.

The suit alleged that Daniels began an “intimate relationship” with Trump in the summer of 2006 that continued well into 2007.

On July 12, court proceedings will get under way to decide whether Daniels can dissolve the agreement.

The White House has denied any sexual encounter between Trump and Daniels — who has offered to return the $130,000 she received so that she can be free to “speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the president and the attempts to silence her.”

She is also asking to be allowed to publish text messages, photos and videos relating to the president, Avenatti said in a letter to Cohen.

Using the pseudonyms Peggy Peterson and David Dennison, Daniels and Trump were to sign the agreement, along with Essential Consultants.

— ‘Bullying tactic’ —

But Trump never signed, providing the basis for Avenatti’s attempt to have it thrown out and release Daniels from her obligations.

Avenatti took to Twitter on Friday to criticize the court filing.

“The fact that a sitting president is pursuing over $20M in bogus ‘damages’ against a private citizen, who is only trying to tell the public what really happened, is remarkable. Likely unprecedented in our history. We are NOT going away and we will NOT be intimidated,” Avenatti wrote on the social media site.

“The filing today is yet another bullying tactic from the president and Mr Cohen. They are now attempting to remove this case to federal ct in order to increase their chances that the matter will be decided in private arbitration, thus hiding the truth from the public,” he wrote.

According to the court filing, Essential Consultants began an “arbitration proceeding” as provided for by the agreement at the end of February.

Trump has ample reason to want to keep the affair quiet.

The issue could hurt the president with religious voters, who were key to his electoral success, and appears to have already caused strains between the president and First Lady Melania Trump.

— Physical threat to Daniels? –

Earlier Friday the White House condemned any threat against Daniels after the porn star’s lawyer claimed she was threatened with physical violence if she revealed details of the alleged tryst.

“Obviously we take the safety and security of any person seriously,” said press secretary Sarah Sanders.

The White House “certainly would condemn anyone threatening any individual, but I have no knowledge of that situation,” she said.

White House officials have tried to deflect questions about the alleged affair, pointing to previous denials by the Trump campaign.

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USAfrica: I stand with missing 110 Dapchi girls as I seek Nigeria’s presidency, says Moghalu

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First-class scholar, political economist and Nigeria’s former deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, on his Declaration of Intention to Contest the 2019 Nigeria Presidential Election at the Musa Yar’Adua Conference Centre, Abuja; on February 28, 2018.

Special to USAfrica multimedia networks (Houston) • USAfricaonline.com @USAfricaLive @Chido247

With love for our country and a fierce commitment to a vision of rapid progress for our more than 180 million citizens, and following wide-ranging consultations, I offer myself to serve you as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as from May 29, 2019. I therefore intend to be a candidate in the 2019 presidential election.

I seek the opportunity to offer our country visionary, purposeful, competent leadership to build our future.

Nearly 60 years ago, our Founding Fathers Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Obafemi Awolowo envisioned a great country that would take its pride of place in the world based on the talents of its citizens and a constitutional federation that would ensure justice, equity, and economic productivity.

Their vision and hopes have yet to materialize — military rule, oil booms and busts, and the successive leadership failures of our civilian political class have combined to rob us of what seemed our destiny at independence.

I am standing here today saying that it is time we shatter the downward spiral to nowhere.

I am here today, standing with the 110 missing girls of Dapchi and their grieving family, and with the traumatized young women of Chibok, those with us and those still in captivity.

I am here today standing with 180 million Nigerians, in addition to thousands of businesses struggling to share a measly 4000MW of electricity.

I am here today standing with the 100 million Nigerians experiencing crushing poverty, living on less than 300 naira a day.

I am here today because 33 million of our able men and women are unemployed or underemployed, nearly 15 million children are out of school, and only 60% of Nigerians are literate.

I am here today because our hospitals are understaffed and mismanaged death traps, and women are still subject to horrific prejudices and devastating early marriages.

I am taking this stand, here and now, because Nigeria today is divided by ethnic and religious conflicts, made worse by corruption. The government has failed in its very first duty of securing our lives as citizens, and we have lost our place in the world. The time has come for us to fix this.

We are collectively exhausted by these politicians who continually fall in and out of alliances with each other and care nothing for the ordinary Nigerian. They aggravate our fears in the hope that we will continue to keep them in power even though offer nothing new.

IT IS TIME for a radical change in the political leadership of Nigeria.

IT IS TIME for a visionary, competent and inclusive leadership that truly cares about our country.

IT IS TIME for a leadership equipped with the skills, intellect and competence to wage a decisive war against poverty and unemployment.

IT IS TIME for a Nigeria in which our youth can fulfill their full potential and our daughters can aspire to any opportunity they desire.

IT IS TIME for a 21st century leader to lead us into a new and different future.

What we need now is a REAL movement of the people, by the people and, most importantly FOR the people of Nigeria to move our country forward and break with our troubled past. I offer myself as part of that movement.

We are a nation of great people; as seen by the way Nigerians abroad are thriving. We hear the stories of those who leave home with little more than a hope and a prayer, change the world abroad.

Nigerians have smarts, ingenuity, drive, relentlessness, vision, and sheer force of will. We must be able to harness our strengths and make them work for us here at home.

My fellow Nigerians, to quote the immortal words of the late US president John F. Kennedy, “politics is too important to be left to the politicians.”

We must ask our government hard questions about the promises they made about our security, about power, about civil aviation, about healthcare, about women’s rights.

The world is changing: time and tide have in several countries swept away old orders and brought in new, more dynamic ones. Nigeria must not remain stuck in its past. We, you and I, can do it for our country too.

We need to modernize, and quickly. For instance we know that women in leadership and in government can accelerate growth for any economy, yet only 6% of our legislature are women. There are many, many competent, smart women who are more than ready to dig in and work together to rescue this country. We must draw them out and ensure that their voices are heard.

We must stop recycling failed politicians and regenerate our leadership ranks with competent and experienced young men or women. Youth who have prepared themselves with the relevant qualifications must take over the mantle of leadership because this struggle is about the future of Nigeria, not its past.

The battle to reorient Nigeria into a strong, capable country requires competence, capacity, and character. And as a citizen who aspires to be President I possess all three.

If it is about competence: my work as a Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria who played a leadership role in rescuing and stabilizing the Nigerian banking system after the global financial crisis speaks for itself.

If it is about capacity, my work in the United Nations reconstructing countries torn by civil war or reforming the internal workings of the world body is there for everyone to see.

If it is about character, well, talk to my colleagues, mentors, friends, and of course my family and listen to what they have to say. Strong, knowledgeable guidance is needed as Nigeria navigates these difficult waters, and I offer myself for service with a solid track record of leadership.

I’m not here to tell you that there are quick, easy solutions to our nation’s problems. Far from it. Decades of economic and leadership mismanagement cannot be undone in a few short weeks or months. Things will be difficult and painful choices will have to be collectively made.

What I am here to tell you is that:

TOGETHER, we can choose a NEW path.

TOGETHER, we can set a BOLD agenda.

TOGETHER, we can deliver for ourselves a DIFFERENT outcome.

Nigeria will achieve greatness.

I have not announced today the party platform on which I intend to contest for the presidency. My focus for now is the people of Nigeria and not on party platforms that have in the past been mere vehicles for capturing political power.

While I have been approached by a number of political parties, the movement that I am part of will decide which one we will join. That decision will be based on commonality of vision and the IMPERATIVE of a generational shift in leadership, and we will announce this decision in the coming weeks.

Based on such a decision, we shall seek to build a formidable coalition of parties for the presidential election that together will represent a clear and credible alternative to the failed political leadership class that has enthroned corruption and incompetence in the governance of our country.

It is important that we begin to focus more closely on the individuals seeking elective office in our country and their qualifications in terms of character, competence, capacity, and track record.

We have traditionally focused of platforms and structures that, though a necessary part of the democratic process, in our national experience have mainly delivered the wrong candidates. Naturally, those candidates have gone on to be failed leaders. It is good candidates that will create credible political parties. Visionless parties cannot produce the best candidates.

THE POLICY AGENDA My vision for our country is set out in my new book BIG (Build, Innovate, Grow) which was released two days ago. In summary, however, the agenda of a government under my leadership includes the following:

Leadership and Governance

Compose a world-class, “first eleven” team based on merit and inclusive governance to drive government policy. We will be ready on Day One. The appointment of all senior officials of the Presidency will be announced within 48 hours. My government will enthrone evidence-based public policy, strategy and risk management as tools of effective and modern governance.

Establish and propagate through the educational system a foundational philosophical worldview for the Nigerian state, around which all Nigerians will unite in a common purpose

Nation-building

Lead a consultative political process, in cooperation with the National Assembly, to achieve a constitutional restructuring of Nigeria and return our country to true federalism for stability and prosperity by 2021.

Implement a 50:50 gender parity policy in all political appointments — nearly double the ratio recommended by the National Gender Policy of 2008.

Establish and implement a Diaspora engagement and return policy and strategy as a new, fundamental component of our national quest for development as has been the case in China, India and Israel. My government will build the Diaspora

Commission approved by the National Assembly into an effective, world-class institution to accomplish this important agenda.

Fundamental overhaul of the Nigerian Police Force that will emphasize training, equipment, and boosting the strength of the Force by recruiting at least 1.5 million policemen and women, up from the grossly inadequate present force strength of 350,000.

Economy

Establish an innovation-led economy, with intellectual property and commercialization of local innovation as its bedrock.

Establish a Venture Capital Fund with a minimum of N500 billion as a public-private partnership to invest in the creation of new businesses by presently unemployed youth in Nigeria; the new businesses created with support from this fund will in turn create new jobs. The fund will be managed by private sector partners while the Federal Government of Nigeria will be a core investor.

Reform energy policy to create an enabling environment for Nigerian households to be powered by renewable energy while industrial zones are served by gas and hydro-powered energy.

Fundamental reform of Nigeria’s healthcare system to assure quality healthcare for Nigerian citizens and remove the need for medical tourism abroad. Healthcare will have 15 per cent of Nigeria’s budget in line with the Abuja Declaration of the African Union in 2001. A world-class hospital will be established in each of the six geopolitical zones at a federal university teaching hospital.

Fundamental reform of Nigeria’s education system to create skills and human capital that will drive Nigeria’s industrialization and job creation. Education will be allocated 20 per cent of the federal government budget, with a progressive increase to 30 per cent over eight years.

CONCLUSION

I am here today because I want what is best for my country.

We have no godfathers. We are just ordinary Nigerians who want a future that is very different from the sad reality of broken promises and unfulfilled national potential that has been the lot of the Nigerian people for far too long.

But we know that, with your support we can bring about real progress in our country. To accomplish this, however, every citizen aged 18 years and above must obtain his or her Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and vote in the 2019 elections.

Fellow Nigerians, this movement of the people, the REAL coalition of everyone and not a select few, belongs to you. Because it truly belongs to you, it will be accountable to you, the people. For this reason, we need to crowdsource our intellect and resources to move this country forward. To support the movement, go towww.tobuildanation.com

We must refuse to allow the political elite to continue to intimidate us with the idea that no one can displace them. They boast they will outspend us and more.

But we say to them: Nigerians will not be taken for a ride yet again. The time to sit on the fence is past, ladies and gentlemen.

I’d like to end my speech by thanking my family. My lovely and ever supportive wife, who always challenges me to be the best man I can be. Thank you, dearest. To my sons and daughter, continue to be the amazing, talented people you are. I am so proud of you.

Nigeria, we can do this. Let’s get to work!

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USAfrica: Sam Okwulehie, educator extraordinaire and Umuahia’s first Mayor. By Chido Nwangwu

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Long live Sam Okwulehie, educator extraordinaire and Umuahia’s first Mayor.

By Chido Nwangwu and Sunday Ilo.

Special to USAfrica (Houston) • USAfricaonline.com • @Chido247 • @USAfricaLive

USAfrica: In the words of Wendell Wilkie, education is the mother of leadership. Fact is that very few men typified this nugget more than Chief Sam Okwulehie.

A man with the strong belief that education is the key to the economic and political emancipation of the individual and any nation.

It is this pioneer educationist, visionary, trail blazer and philanthropist that we celebrate, today in Black History month (February 16), which would have been his 86th birthday!  We celebrate a lifelong vocation of providing education to the needy and the less privileged around his environment. From several days of my interviews with him at his son Jamal’s home near Houston, I could tell that the tasking, twin challenges of age and health could not mellow the kinetic joy and electric passion he showed whenever I took him back to the highways of lighting the lamp of education in his community!

But we cannot talk about Chief Sam Okwulehie without starting from the very beginning — especially his commitment to the roles of education as the catalyst for human and civilizational growth.

Indeed, as the great sage, Chinua Achebe wrote in his magnum opus, Things Fall Apart, a chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted from the very day it hatches….

Sam Okwulehie was born in Umuda Okpuala, Isingwu, an integral part of Umuahia’s Ohuhu clan, on the 16th of February, 1932 to Chief Sam Okwulehie (Senior) Nwokeukwu and Lolo Echendu.

He died on the 30th of December, 2017.

His parents were devoted Christians who instilled in their kids the virtues of humility, honesty and hard work. These enduring virtues were to later become abidingly visible in the career of Chief Sam Okwulehie.

He started his elementary school in his village but left after two years to Umuoriehi primary school where he finished his Standard two class in 1940 after a brief interval.

His restlessness and hard work led him to Mission Hill, one of the few central schools in Umuahia, where he completed his standard three education and then proceeded to the much sought after Isingwu Central school where he secured his First School Leaving Certificate in 1947.

 

With his primary education now completed, there were so many options to advance in his career and under the counsel of his older brother, the late Rev. Appolos Sam Okwulehie, it was decided that he should proceed to a secondary school. But the difficulty then was that there was just one secondary school in the whole of Umuahia zone; the Methodist College at Uzuakoli, a challenge young Sam never forgot which inspired him to make a difference later in life.

As a result of the huge number of applicants struggling to gain admission in the Methodist College, his family decided not to take chances and he was sent to Onitsha where he got his admission into Providence High School, Onitsha.

Owing to the divine providence that accompanied him, he completed his secondary education and soon got a job at St. George’s College, Enugu, where Mr. C.C. Chiedozie served as the school principal.

For about two years, he did what he cherished, tutoring many students in geography and English language. But when his father fell sick, he was obliged as the last son of the family, to go home and look after him. Unfortunately his father passed unto glory on the 5th of May 1957.

He resumed work at St. George’s College after his dad’s burial rites with new philosophical interpretation to the transiency and ephemerality of life, he was now more than ever determined to leave his footprints in the sands of time.

He was now more than ever before committed to pursue goals far bigger than his individual ambition and he embraced this vision with the certainty of a maestro. Indeed, as divine providence will have it, he met Chief Obafemi Awolowo, then the national leader of Action Group, that same year in 1957. This meeting in Enugu in the presence of other pantheons of Nigerian politics, including Anthony Enahoro, Samuel Ladoke Akintola and a host of other southwestern leaders gave him insights on the bigger pictures of national development.

Chief Sam Okwulehie recalled nostalgically to USAfrica Founder Dr. Chido Nwangwu that “most people in attendance at the historic meeting were blown away by Awolowo’s eloquence and I was captivated by the idea that I, Sam, can make life, even more abundant for my people.”

This Damascus experience imbued in him with so much zeal that he remained unfazed to the prevailing political correctness.

Then it was almost a crime for an Igbo man to associate with the Action Group but together with other like minds, including their leader, the famous S.G Ikoku, they built the pioneer political structure for his new party in Enugu. Their bravery did not go unnoticed at the party headquarters and soon Sam and his two other comrades were offered party jobs with irresistible salaries. In fact, it was thrice his then salary at St. George’s College. Given that his main drive in life was how best to help his people, it fell on Mark Nwobiala from Umuahia, to prevail on him to accept the party job, and soon they proceeded to the Action Group Summer School in Western Nigeria for a six month leadership training after which he was posted back to Umuahia to open up more branches of the Action Group.

He went about his new  party job which so much missionary zeal and devotion that he soon attracted the attention of the then Premier of Eastern region, Dr. Micheal Okpara of the ruling NCNC.  After extensive interactions with the great Okpara, it became so clear to Sam that “the most effective way to accomplish his selfless service to his people was through the only party with a real chance of controlling the instrument of government in the eastern Nigeria.”

Ever so pragmatic and sophisticated, Sam switched to the ruling NCNC and became head of the secretive intelligence unit, office of the Premier of Eastern region, where he again demonstrated his leadership skills. He was soon selected as the NCNC electoral candidate for Chairman of the old Umuahia local government council, which he won repeatedly in 1961, 1962 and 1963. He lost his re-election in 1964 but as a dogged and battle hardened fighter he reclaimed his seat in 1966.

For Sam, politics was not just about political position and thus right from his first tenure as council chairman in 1961, he envisioned and built a modern Timber market in Umuahia with unprecedented lock up shops etc. He leveraged on the friendship with Micheal Okpara to attract the provision of pipe borne water and tarred roads to his community. But his eyes were fixed on providing accessible and quality education to his rural community and so in 1962, through the help of his friend, Micheal Okpara, he got approval to build a pioneering private secondary school, the old Crusader Secondary School, Umuahia.

A feat he achieved from his own pocket at the age of 27!

Thus fulfilling his long held desire to educate and emancipate his people. This school  taught and continues to teach so many generations of students remains a testament to the enduring legacy of Sam Okwulehie. He advocated for healthcare services; and was later to become the first Nigerian to serve on the governing board of Umuahia’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Without a doubt, the soft spoken gentleman left indelible marks and worthy memories reflecting strategic thinking, swiftly animated and fulfilled through action, versatility, industry, diplomacy and tact.

As my Aro elders would have told Mazi Okwulehie: may your lineage endure!                 •Dr. Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; served as adviser to Houston’s ex Mayor on Africa business and recipient of several journalism and public policy awards, has been profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. He’s completing the 2018 book, titled ‘Mandela & Achebe: Footprints of Greatness.’                                                     +1-832-45-CHIDO (24436}  –  Chido247@Gmail.com

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Pope speaks on “old and new forms of slavery, discrimination”, condemns “oppressive regimes”

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Special to USAfricaonline.com @USAfricaLive

(UPI) — Pope Francis marked Easter Sunday with an address praying for relief for the violence-beset populations of Syria, south Sudan, Iraq, and Ukraine.

The pope appeared before a crowd of tens of thousands gathered in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square about noon for the traditional Urbi et Orbi — “To the City and the World” — address delivered on Easter Sunday, when the world’s Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“Today, throughout the world, the Church echoes once more the astonishing message of the first disciples: ‘Jesus is risen!’ — ‘He is truly risen, as he said!'” Pope Francis told the crowd.

[callout bg=”#163099″ color=”#ffffff” border=”#dd9933″ bt_content=”Click Here” bt_pos=”right” bt_style=”undefined”][/callout]The pontiff said Jesus “takes upon himself all those victimized by old and new forms of slavery, inhuman labor, illegal trafficking, exploitation and discrimination, and grave forms of addiction. He takes upon himself children and adolescents deprived of their carefree innocence and exploited, and those deeply hurt by acts of violence that take place within the walls of their own home.”

The address featured prayers for relief for those affected by ” armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, famine and oppressive regimes,” with a specific mention made for “a war that continues to sow horror and death” in Syria, where at least 112 people were killed in a bombing targeting buses evacuating people from war-torn towns Saturday.

“Just yesterday, there was the latest vile attack on refugees attempting to flee, which provoked numerous deaths and injuries,” the pope said.

Francis also prayed for peace in the Holy Land, Iraq, and Yemen, as well as an end to violence and famine in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“May the Good Shepherd come to the aid of Ukraine, still beset by conflict and bloodshed, to regain social harmony. May he accompany every effort to alleviate the tragic sufferings of those affected by the conflict,” the pope said.

Pope Francis earlier broke with tradition and delivered an improvised homily on Easter morning, an occasion when Francis and previous popes have generally remained silent in advance of the Urbi et Orbi address.

Francis affirmed during the homily that the resurrection of Jesus Christ “is not a fantasy.”

“It’s not a celebration with many flowers. This is beautiful, but [the resurrection] is more,” he said.

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Ahead of Nov 30 Outstanding Performance Award, Obiano commended by Obi, Umeh

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Former Special Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on Inter Party Affairs, Senator Ben Ndii Obi; former National Chairman, All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh; National Treasurer, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Okeke Ogene and transporter and former President General, Onitsha Market Traders Association (OMATA), Chief Godwin U. Okeke, have extolled the leadership style of Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano.

Obi, Umeh, Ogene and Okeke, among others, in separate interviews with our correspondents against the backdrop of  the governor’s winning of the New Telegraph newspaper’s Outstanding Performance Award, said his administration had given the state a new lease of life.

Obiano is to be presented with the award at a ceremony set for Civic Centre, Lagos, on November 30.

The event is expected to be attended by top government officials, political bigwigs, captains of industry and commerce, bank chiefs and prominent indigenes of Anambra State, among others. Responding to a question on Obiano’s achievements since he assumed office in 2014, Obi said: “So far, the governor has stood out in the area of security and in the transformation of Awka city.

He has, through the restoration of security in the state, also attracted investors to the state. I am not a member of his party, but I must commend him for the good works he has so far done and I urge him to do more.”

Umeh also scored the governor high in the area of security, peace, agriculture, trade and commerce as well as human resources development. He said the governor had done well in these areas, which should be the focal point of any leader interested in building an egalitarian society. “I want to say that so far so good, our governor has tried in maintaining peace and development in all ramifications. He is a member of APGA and APGA is a family. We cannot give out anybody who we are not sure of. He is doing exactly what we want and today, we are happy that all other states are borrowing a leaf from Anambra State. That is the foundation we laid for posterity and we must stand by it,” he stated.

On his part, Ogene said Obiano had not disappointed the electorate. “The present governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, has not disappointed the people. Although there is more work to be done, we are hopeful that his administration will, in due course, address whatever inadequacies there are.

“The people are lucky to have him as their governor because he is a dependable leader. He has demonstrated a strong will and commitment towards making the state an enviable one,” the Ohanaeze chief added.

Assessing the performance of the governor, Okeke said: “People are happy with the state of Anambra today; it is calm, cool and good to live in. “We are not surprised about what is happening in Anambra State today. You can see that while most of the states in the federation owe workers arrears of salaries and wages as well as pension, this is not so in our state.

“Obiano is an excellent administrator and, within one year and some months, he has been able to turn around the state for good. He has touched all sectors of the state’s economy and Anambra is a state to be proud of outside this country. It is a welcome development. “I’m particularly impressed by his achievements in the area of security. I experienced it because when I was the president of OMATA, we tried our best to curtail the menace of armed robbers and today we can sleep with our two eyes closed.”  ref: USAfricaonline.com with reports from the New Telegraph newspaper, Lagos.


USAfrica names Anambra’s Obiano Nigeria’s Governor of the Year.

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For Obiano, accountability is the issue on Obi’s N75bn claim, Interfact and Denca deals

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For Obiano, accountability is the issue on Obi’s N75bn claim, Interfact and Denca deals

Special to USAfricaonline.com,  and USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston. Follow USAfrica at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido , Facebook.com/USAfrica247 and Twitter.com/Chido247

By Oji Nnaka

Of the 22 items on the famous handover note by the immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, let’s take a look at two of them just to provide an insight to the mindset of the authors of the handover note. Deliberately, that note was largely scripted to mislead and misinform.

The two companies stated above featured prominently as items 8 and 11 on Peter Obi’s famous hand over note which bequeathed the so called N75bn to Governor Willie Obiano. The hand over note stated that his administration invested N3.5bn in Interfact Beverages, Onitsha. Meanwhile, it was discovered that he invested only N1.4bn, leaving a shortfall of N2.1bn. It was only after Governor Obiano took over that an additional N540m was invested in the company to finance its expansion plan. The question we should be asking now is: what happened to that balance?

Then, item 11 of the same hand over note claims that the sum of N250m was paid as the State’s investment to Denca Resources, the project developers of the Anambra State Independent Power Generating Company Ltd (ASIPGC) for the proposed 400MW project in Ogbaru, my Local Government Area.

So far, Denca has done nothing and has refused to honour all government’s invitation to a meeting where the project would be discussed. The question Ndi Anambra should be asking again is: was this money actually paid USAfrica_Special_OBIANO_18MONTHS-version1-cover_OCTOBER_2015.Chido2to this company? It is strange that a company with that kind of naira spinning project would spurn the invitation of a new government to chart the way forward. The company’s reluctance to come forward is suspicious.

Beyond these highly questionable transactions, there are other sections within the hand over note where the previous administration referred to provision of counterpart funds to specialized financial institutions (e.g. Bank of Industry) as ‘investment’, another brazen attempt to mislead the public. I don’t want to delve into other fatuous investments in financial instruments which are clearly shortsighted and highly unprofitable. The so called hand over note is a clumsy attempt in financial photo-shopping, nothing more. Now to the most Frequently Asked Question since government gave its on side to the N75bn – why is government talking about it now, almost two years after hand over?

First, government did not wish to create panic among contractors and investors who were already primed to move into the State in view of the secure environment. As an experienced banker, Governor Obiano believes that without the money he could through prudent financial reengineering get the system working; and that’s exactly what he’s been doing.

Secondly, government was reluctant to wash its dirty linen in the public hoping that good conscience would prevail on the part of Obi. But when it became obvious the immediate pass governor could not rein in his Alsatian hounds who wouldn’t relent in constituting themselves into cyber nuisance on account of this N75bn fiction which was beginning to misinform Ndi Anambra, government had no alternative than to put the facts in public domain.

Even though Ndi Anambra knew their immediate pass governor isn’t a saint, his meek façade and deceptive “ada ora” voice notwithstanding, it has become exigent for the people to have the raw facts. Government’s silence should not be mistaken for cowardice.

In fact, it is about time the EFCC and ICPC got interested in this matter. They will collectively have more than a mouthful to chew. At least, we now know where and how Peter Obi’s PDP Anambra is getting the massive fund with which it destabilized the polity in the last election.

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[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68DP3rtPS0c[/embedyt]

VIDEO #CNN special #CHIBOK Girls n #BokoHaram Live intvw wt the Founder of USAfrica multimedia and public POLICY networks Chido Nwangwu. CNN anchors John Berman n Michaela Pereira.  

———-
Forthcoming 2016 BOOK: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first PERSON reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two GLOBAL icons and towering PERSONS of African descent whose exemplary lives
Mandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrs and friendship HOLD lessons for humanity and Africans, USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and CONSEQUENCE to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”
He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being CLOSE to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown UNIVERSITY in Providence, Rhode Island.“I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that HISTORIC Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief EXECUTIVE of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when PRESIDENT BILL Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and CAME to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes  Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia 
specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/
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Durban Festival: 9 films to see

Durban’s film festival has kicked off, and we take a look at some of the African films featured at this year’s showcase.

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Durban’s film festival has kicked off, and we take a look at some of the African films featured at this year’s showcase.

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