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USAfrica: At 80, Dr. Alex Ekwueme remains philosopher and king; visionary and practician. By Chido Nwangwu

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At 80, Ide Alex Ekwueme remains philosopher and king; visionary and practician….

By Dr. Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of  USAfricaonline.com,  CLASSmagazine  and USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston.

Alex-Ekwueme-ex-VP_Nigeria_in-white-trad-red-cap. via USAfricaonline.com

Alex-Ekwueme-ex-VP_Nigeria_in-white-trad-red-cap. via USAfricaonline.com

“To honor him whom we have made is far from honoring him that hath made us.” It was Michel de Montaigne, the 16th French Philosopher and Writer who wrote those magnificent words. I think and know His Excellency Dr. Alex Ekwueme is one of those who hath made us.

Those were my first response and words of acceptance of the request to me that I serve as keynote speaker at this August 24 international event celebrating 80 years of a great, impactful and purposeful life.

 

Ide Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, born October 21, 1932, is both philosopher and king; visionary and practician; philanthropist and resourceful role model for millions.

It is a great privilege for me to appreciate Dr. Ekwueme — respectfully to his face and esteemed presence — while we are all alive.
It is a continuation of my trans-generational commitment to appreciate and honor outstanding leaders an persons who continue to make a difference and inspire our commitments.

Follow Twitter.com/Chido247Facebook.com/MandelaAchebeChido,  Facebook.com/USAfricaChido , Facebook.com/USAfrica247

What do I say when the man who is older enough to be my father?
What do I say to a gentle giant whose signature humble personality and mild speaking style stands in contradistinction to the towering strings of Olympian, concrete achievements.

Yes; I do know that Dr. Ekwueme, recipient of Nigeria’s high national award of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), is a quintessential embodiment of public service and living example of an individual — working in cooperation with his wife Mrs. Beatrice Ekwueme– who remains engaged in strategic generosity for almost 45 years!!

He established the first indigenous architectural firm in Nigeria, Ekwueme Associates, Architects and Town Planners, and improved the face of Nigeria.

In the arena of politics, he will, forever, be remembered as the man who formally led, through his democratic election in 1979-1983 as Vice President of Nigeria, the most comprehensive reintegration of the Igbo into the geo-political and socio-economic pillars of power in the country. Set aside other fanciful claims of that period.

I do know that VP Ekwueme used his appointment of Mark Okoye as Nigeria’s Minister for the Abuja Federal Capital (with the city then under construction) to empower thousands of the Igbo and other easterners who, today, have become key economic factors in Abuja. Remarkably, Ekwueme does not cite or brag about this critical role. He will not talk about it but I will.
Again, he is one of those who hath made us.
Dr. Ekwueme is, by no means, perfect; he is outstanding but also had issues where some disagreed strongly with him.
Permit me to note that our Igbo and Yoruba nativist refuseniks and hardliners dismissed Ekwueme and others such as my mentor the late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo who worked politically with the Sokoto caliphate, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the Kaduna ‘mafia’ and the northern Nigeria conservative leadership as “sell-outs.” Such arguments still feed some quarters as it did in 1979 through the 1980s.

As a matter of fact in the early 1980s, while I was a very young staff of the Electronic News Gathering (E.N.G) unit of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Channel 6, Aba, I joined in covering VP Ekwueme and President Shehu Shagari news events in our broadcast area which included the old Imo, Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa States.

Ide Alex Ekwueme values education; got the best, and continues to give hundreds of scholarships. His own primary school started at St John’s Anglican Central School, at Ekwulobia, a few miles from his hometown of Oko; attended the prestigious King’s College, Lagos; showed such excellence he was given the U.S Fulbright Scholarship; 1955 admitted to the University of Washington where he bagged a Bachelors degree in architecture and city planning; a Masters degree in urban planning; from the University of London, he excelled with degrees in sociology, history, philosophy and law; from the University of Strathclyde his Ph.D. in architecture. A well-rounded intellectual, he continued to earn the Bachelor of Law degree from the Nigerian Law School in Lagos.

Dr. Alex Ekwueme’s philanthropy, relatively and in terms of community impact, compares to the Carnegies, the Mellons, the Gates, Mohameds, Bank-Anthonys, the Buffets, Annenbergs, Mosingers, Ilodibes and many other cheerful givers. Moreso, for me to capture the modest totality of Ide Alex Ekwueme’s meaningful life will require a special book.

On this your 80th birthday, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, you have planted human seeds through large scale scholarships and empowerment of Oko persons and other communities; many will thank you; may be a few will scorn you with their violent ingratitude that the sun and moon you showed them were not bright enough…. No matter what, Ide, your name and legacies are greater.

As a chronicler of history, ancient and modern, of current affairs and the business of power for the past 33 years of the Igbo nation, of Nigeria, of Africans and Americans, I can state without any concerns of contradiction that Dr. Alex Ekwueme is among the top 50 greatest Africans of the 20th century!

Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica (Houston)

Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica (Houston)

Finally, I offer you the gift of the wise words of my Aro elders: Ide, may your lineage endure!!

Dr. Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, Security, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University in Rhode Island and author of the forthcoming 2013 book titled ‘Mandela & Achebe: Footprints of Greatness’  www.MandelaAchebeChido.com, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1993, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com;  CLASSmagazine, AchebeBooks.com, IgboEvents, Nigeria360 and several blogs. He has been profiled by CNN International for his pioneering work on the news and public policy interests of Africans and Americans.  Chido, former adviser on Africa business to Houston’s ex-Mayor Dr. Lee Brown, appears as an analyst on CNN, London-based SkyNEWS,  NBC, ABC, CBSNews and other platforms. e-mail: Chido247@Gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chido247

 

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—— Forthcoming 2013 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-Lrsand friendship hold lessons for humanity and Africans, the author 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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Why Obama’s late to symbolic, historic meeting with Mandela.  By Chido Nwangwu.  http://usafricaonline.com/2013/06/26/obamas-late-to-symbolic-historic-meeting-with-fit-mandela-by-chido-nwangwu/

VIDEO of the CNN International broadcast/profile of USAfrica and CLASSmagazine Publisher Chido Nwangwu.   http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn  

Halting the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. By Chido Nwangwu http://usafricaonline.com/chido.sudan04.html

Obama’s Africa agenda, our business and democracy. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com

 

Margaret Thatcher, Mandela and Africa.  By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica, and the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com. Click for newscast video of London-based SkyNEWS, the global, 24-hour British international tv network’s interview with USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu on April 11, 2013 regarding this latest commentary http://youtu.be/G0fJXq_pi1c )

ACHEBE Lives As an Immortal Writer In Our Hearts and Minds. By Chido Nwangwu.
USAfrica, May 22, 2013:

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POPE FRANCIS, champion for the poor and evangelistic dedication’ by Chido Nwangwu

USAfrica: Awolowo’s Starvation Policy against Biafrans and the Igbo requires apology not attacks on Achebe. By Francis Adewale. 

Long Live, CHINUA ACHEBE! The Eagle on the iroko.                    

FULL text of this tribute-commentary at USAfricaonline.com click link http://usafricaonline.com/2013/03/22/long-live-chinua-achebe-by-chido-nwangwu/

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AFRICA

World SOCCER SHOWDOWN: South Africa backs Morocco; U.S under pressure

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  • USAfricaonline.com  •  @Chido247  @USAfricalive

“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity, and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” said the SAFA president Jordaan.

Johannesburg – South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has promised Morocco that South Africa will give its unqualified support to secure another World Cup on the African continent in 2026.

Morocco is vying to stage the world’s biggest football prize against a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The Moroccan delegation comprises ex-Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.

Jordaan said it would be great for Africa to have a second bite of the World Cup cherry, adding Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.

Jordaan assured Morocco that he would personally lobby for the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) and the rest of the continent to rally behind the Moroccans.

In his remarks, Antoine Bell said Morocco had all the ingredients to host another spectacular World Cup.

“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards, from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.

By giving Morocco its support, South Africa’s voice would make all the difference on the continent, Bell said.

“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens hence it is vital for South Africa to support Morocco. South Africa has the experience and Morocco will use this experience to win the 2016 bid,” added Bell. African News Agency

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AFRICA

USAfrica: Catholic priest Etienne killed by militia in DR Congo, after a wedding mass

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  •  @USAfricaLIVE

Goma – A Catholic priest was found shot dead hours after he said mass in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive North Kivu province, a member of the church told AFP.

“Father Etienne Sengiyumva was killed [on] Sunday by the Mai Mai Nyatura (militia) in Kyahemba where he had just celebrated a mass including a baptism and a wedding,” father Gonzague Nzabanita, head of the Goma diocese where the incident occurred, told AFP.

The Mai Mai Nyatura are an armed group operating in North Kivu, in eastern DRC.

Nzabanita said Sengiyumva, 38, had had lunch with local faithful before “we found him shot in the head”.

North and South Kivu provinces are in the grip of a wave of violence among militia groups, which often extort money from civilians or fight each other for control of mineral resources.

Last week unknown assailants kidnapped a Catholic priest in North Kivu, demanding $500 000 for his release.

Eastern DRC has been torn apart by more than 20 years of armed conflict, fuelled by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of the region’s mineral resources, and rivalry between regional powers.

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AFRICA

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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